Skip to main content

Full text of "Travels in Arabia Deserta"

See other formats


xxi % 



Norah de Pencier 



n^ 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA 

VOLUME ONE 



!Cj21 



xldvr pjurtojtrafjvt 






TRAVELS IN 
ARABIA DESERTA 

BY CHARLES M. DOUGHTY, WITH A NEW 

PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR, AND ALL 

ORIGINAL MAPS, PLANS AND CUTS 



VOLUME ONE 



PHILIP LEE WARNER, PUBLISHER TO THE 
MEDICI SOCIETY, LTD., AND JONATHAN 
CAPE, LONDON : AND AT BOSTON, U.S.A., 1921 



First published by The Cambridge University Press 1888 : 
new edition, type reset, January 1921 

Reprinted September 1921 



DEC171965 
10 319 9 6 



DS 


z n 


hs 


(Ui 


v. 1 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, 
DUKE STREET, STAMFORD STREET, S.E. I, AND GREAT WINDMILL STREET, W. t. 



Preface to the first edition. 

TJ/B set but a name upon the ship, that our hands 
W have built {with incessant labour) in a decen- 
nium, in what day she is launched forth to the great 
waters ; and few words are needful in this place. The 
book is not milk for babes : it might be likened to a 
mirror, wherein is set forth faithfully some parcel of 
the soil of Arabia smelling of samn and camels. And 
such, I trust, for the persons, that if the words [written 
all-day from their mouths] were rehearsed to them in 
Arabic, there might every one, ivhose life is remembered 
therein, hear, as it were, his proper voice ; and many a 
rude bystander, smiting his thigh, should bear witness 
and cry ' Ay Wellah, the sooth indeed ! ' 

Little was known to me, writing apart from books 
and in foreign countries, of those few old Arabic 
authors that have treated, more Asiatico, of tribes 
and towns and itineraries in the vast Peninsula. I 
was too weary to inquire of aught beside my path, 
and learned men encouraged me to leave them to 
scholars. The like must be said of the writings of the 
two or three Europeans [Wallin, Palgrave, Guar- 
mani] that before my time visited Hdyil and Teyma; 
and which, when I sojourned in Arabia, [and since,) 
were known to me only in A. Zehme's excellent treatise. 

The first part of my work — the Inscriptions ivhich I 
brought from Arabia — was published by the Academie, 
in Paris. From thence, the first of these volumes is 



vi PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION. 

adorned by M. Renari's translation of the {Aramaic) 
epitaphs of Medain Salih or el-He jr. At the end will 
be found the Marquis de Vogue's valuable note, of the 
hewn architecture of those monuments. To the second 
volume I have appended a notice of the geological 
constitution of Arabia. A third part of my work is 
the map, which is attached to these volumes. 

PROSIT VERITATI 



Preface to the second edition. 

OF surpassing interest to those many minds, which 
seek after philosophic knowledge and instruction, 
is the Story of the Earth, Her manifold living creatures, 
the human generations and Her ancient rocks. 

Briefly, and with such views as these, not worldly 
aims, a disciple of the divine Muse of Spencer and 
Venerable Chaucer ; having spent the best part of ten 
years of early manhood, sojourning in succession in 
most of the Continental countries, and lastly in Syria, 
and having wandered through the length and breadth of 
Palestine, I reached Egypt and Sinai; where with 
Beduin guides, I wandered on, through the most of 
that vast mountainous labyrinthine solitude of rainless 
valleys ; with their sand-wind burnished rocks and stones 
and in some of them, often strangely scribbled Nabatean 
cliff-inscriptions (the names, the saws and salutations of 
ancient wayfarers). From thence gone up to Edom, I 
visited Petra ; and at Maan settlement, which is a few 
miles beyond, heard of other Petra-like sculptured cliff- 
monuments, bearing many inscriptions, at Medain Salih. 
(That was a water-station of the Damascus yearly pilgrims' 
caravan, in their long desert way to Medina and Mecca ; 
lying some few days' journey southward from Maan, but 
difficult to be reached, at other times, for danger of the 
wild Beduins.) 

Medain Salih, i.e. cities of their reputed prophet 
Salih, so named by the pilgrims, being the subject of 



viii PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 

many Koran fables ; but more properly, from antiquity, 
el-Hejr, (as it yet is in the mouths of the country nomads,) 
was at thai time not knoivn to Europeans. 

What might be those inscriptions ? I was unable to 
learn from my Arab companions, save that they were not 
Arabic. Interested as I was, in all that pertains to 
Biblical research, I resolved to accept the hazard of 
visiting them. 

This was only accomplished later, after more than 
another year's fruitless endeavours ; when finding none 
other means, I had taken the adventure of journeying 
thither, in the great Damascus caravan. 

Arrived at the place, after three weeks' tedious 
riding, amongst that often clamorous, mixed and in their 
religion devout pilgrim-multitude ; I found Med din 
Sdlih to be an old ruinous sand-plain, with sand-rock 
cliffs; where our encampment was pitched by a great 
cistern, defended from the interference of Beduins, by a 
rude-built Turkish fort or kella : whence it is the weary 
pilgrims draw to drink, for themselves and their numerous 
camels. 

Hardly visible in the next cliffs, was some one of the 
sculptured monuments, which I was come thus far to 
seek. Upon the Western horizon appeared, (to me of 
hardly less interest,) the heads evidently by their forms, of 
some latent or extinct volcanoes.* 

* In my later journeying in the high deserts, I found and visited the 
crater-hills of several more latent or spent volcanoes ; and traversed wide 
harras or lava-areas, which, lying dispersedly as far down as the country 
above Mecca, came within my knowledge and observation : whose few wild 
creatures, in the long lapse of ages, have acquired (as I have seen the fox 
and gazelles) the swart hue of those cragged landscapes. 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. ix 

During those tivo months which remained till the 
returning of the pilgrimage, I visited the monuments 
and carefully impressed their formal superscriptions; 
which proved to be sepulchral and Nabatean, from a 
little earlier and a little later than the beginning of our 
Era : and found and transcribed some few other upon 
ancient building-stones, at the neighbour desert settle- 
ment, el- Ally, which are Himyaric* 

The pilgrims come again, I did not return with them 
to Syria ; but rode with a friendly sheylch of the district 
Beduins, to live with them awhile in the high desert. I 
might thus, I hoped, visit the next Arabian uplands 
and view those vast waterless marches of the nomad 
Arabs; tent-dwellers, inhabiting, from the beginning, 
as it were beyond the World. 

Unto this new endeavour, I teas but slenderly pro- 
vided ; yet did not greatly err, when I trusted my 
existence, (which could long endure, as in Sinai, with little 
more than Heaven's sun and air,) amongst an unlettered 
and reputed lawless tribesfolk, (with whom, however, I had 
already some more favourable acquaintance;) which 
amidst a life of never-ending hardship and want, con- 
tinue to observe a Great Semitic Law, unwritten ; namely 
the ancient Faith of their illimitable empty wastes. I 
might find moreover, in so doing, to add something to 
the common fund of Western knowledge. The name 

* Finding, when I returned home, no means of publishing the inscrip- 
tions, which I had painfully gathered in Arabia ; I offered them to tlie 
Corpus Inscr. Semiticarum, then, as I learned, in course of publication 
in France : where, gladly accepted by the Academie des inscriptions et 
belles-lettres, they ivere photographically reproduced ; and edited, (before 
their inclusion,) in a special 4° volume, with translations, by M. E. Renan 



x PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. 

of Engleysy* might stand me at first in some stead, 
where known, perchance remotely, by faint hearsay, in 
some desert settlement. On the other hand, there must 
needs remain, as friendly Arab voices warned me, that 
predatory instinct of Beduins beyond their tents ; besides 
the bitterness and blight of a fanatical religion, in every 
place. 

In the adventure thus begun, there passed over me, 
amongst the thinly scattered, generally hostile and sus- 
picious inhabitants of that Land of wilderness, nearly 
two long and partly weary years ; but not without 
happy turns, in the not seldom finding, as I went 
forth, of human fellowship amongst Arabians and even 
of some very true and helpful friendships ; which, from 
this long distance of years, I vividly recall and shall, 
whilst life lasts, continue to esteem with grateful mind. 
The haps that befel me are narrated in these volumes : 
wherein I have set down, that which I saw with my 
eyes, and heard with my ears and thought in my heart ; 
neither more or less.] 

These volumes, published originally by the Cambridge 
University Press, have been some time out of print.% A 

* Kelamat Engleysy, the word of an Englishman. 

j It has, I am told, been asked : how could I take abundant notes in 
fanatical Arabia f I found no great difficulty in so doing. I was 
amongst them an Hakim : nor did I spare to make use of my inkhom and 
reed pen in the illiterate leisure of the nomad tent; and when in the 
settlements, I wrote as I could. I did nothing covertly : thus I was 
able, " a son of the way," to pass forth with an honourable reputation and 
the good ivill of many, and finding always some helpful friends ; to reach 
at length an happy ending of my travaillous voyage in Arabia. 

J An abridged Edition, however, was published by Messrs. Duckworth. 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION. xi 

re-print has been called for ; and is reproduced thus, 
at the suggestion .chiefly of my distinguished friend, 
Colonel T. E. Lawrence, leader ivith Fey sal, Meccan 
Prince, of the nomad tribesmen ; whom they, as might 
none other at that time, marching from Jidda, the port 
of Mecca, were able, {composing, as they went, the tribes' 
long-standing blood feuds and old enmities), to unite with 
them in victorious arms, against the corrupt Turkish 
sovereignty in those parts: and who greatly thus serving 
his Country's cause and her Allies, from the Eastward, 
amidst the Great War ; has in that imperishable enter- 
prise, traversed the same wide region of Desert Arabia. 

[I cannot here take leave, without recording my 
thankful memory of those good men (all are now passed 
from us), Henry Bradshaw, Librarian at that time of the 
Cambridge University Library, and W. Wright, University 
Professor of Arabic : who together with Robertson Smith, 
also Professor there of Semitic learning ; powerfully 
persuaded the University Press Syndics, to undertake 
the costly printing and publishing of the MS. of this ivork.] 

Charles M. Doughty. 

September, 1920. 



1 



Preface to the third edition. 

/'N a new Preface, following so soon upon the last, I 
find little to add which has not been said. 

The Great War of our times has brought the Land oj 
the Arabs into the horizon of Western Nations. 

Noteworthy is that opinion maintained by some 
scholars, that the huge and mostly waste Arabian 
Peninsula has been the prehistoric Nest ; wherein were 
nourished and brought up, and from whence have issued 
and dispersed themselves, those several human swarms, 
which became the wide-spread, and in former ages, 
powerful Semitic Peoples : that since History began, 
have left an indelible impress upon the three Continents of 
the Old World ; and especially on the religious sentiment 
of so chief a portion of mankind. 

The main tableland of Northern Arabia, which is 
treated of in these volumes, inhabited by nomad tribes 
and their settlers in oasis-villages, is a Country almost 
rainless, raised mostly some 4,000 feet above sea-level ; 
and, has been dry land, since Cretaceous times. 

We have some evidence, that it was peopled by men 
even from the beginning of the World, in paleolithic flints 
chipped to an edge by human hands ; which have been 
found in the flint-gravel, at Maan* in Edom. 

As for the nomad Arabs, camel and sheep herds, 
dwellers in black booths and curtains of hair-cloth, 

* v. Vol. I, pp. 36 and 37. (They may be seen in the Oxford 
University Museum.) 



xiv PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION. 

{named by them " houses of hair ") : we may see in them 

that desert life, which was followed by their ancestors, 

in the Biblical tents of Kedar. 

While the like phrases of their nearly-allied and not 

less ancient speech, are sounding in our ears, and their 

like customs, come down from antiquity, are continued 

before our eyes ; we almost feel ourselves carried back to 

the days of the nomad Hebrew Patriarchs ; (which, though 

in our brief lives, they seem very remote, are but a moment 

of geological time). And we are the better able to read 

the bulk of the Old Testament books, with that further 

insight and understanding, ivhich comes of a living 

experience. 

C. M. D. 

September, 1921. 



CORRECTION. 
Vol. I. p. 131, 1. 13; dele The Bocks of J. Ethlib. 



CONTENTS TO VOL. I. 

CHAPTER I. 

'/THE PERAEA ; AMMON AND MOAB. 

PAGE 

The Haj, or Mecca pilgrimage, in Damascus. The pilgrim camp in 
the wilderness at Muzeyrib.. The setting forth. Hermon. The first 
station. The pilgrimage way, or Derb el-Haj. Geraza. The Ageyl. 
Bashan. Umm Jemal. Bosra. Jabbok, or the Zerka. Shebib ibn 
Tubbai. Ancient strong towers in the desert. Punishment of a caravan 
thief. Aspect of the Peraean plains. The Beduins. Beny Sokhr. Beny 
Seleyta. Welad Aly. Gilead. The Belka. Whether this fresh country 
were good for colonists ? Rabbath Ammon. Heshbon. Umm Rosas. 
The pilgrim -encampment raised by night. The brook Arnon. Lejun. 
The high plains of Moab. Ruined sites. Dat Ras. Rabbath Moab. Kir 
Moab. " Heaps in the furrows of the field." The old giants. Agaba 
tribe. The land wasted by Israel. The ancient people were stone- 
bwilders. Kerak visited. Beny Hameydy tribe. Memorial heaps of stones 
in the wilderness. Wady el-Hasy. The deep limestone valleys descending 
to the Dead Sea. Sheykh Hajellan. 1 — 27 

CHAPTER II. 

THE MOUNTAIN OF EDOM ; ARABIA PETRAEA. 

Mount Seir, or Jebel Sherra, is high and cold. The Flint Land, or 
Arabia Petraea. The Nomads of J. Sherra. Jardania. Beduin riders. 
Mount Seir a land of ruins. Bosra of Edom. Idolatrous citizens changed 
to stones. Maan. Their factions. A most pure air. Journey westward 
in Edom. Sight of Mount Hor. Mons Regalis. Villagers of Edom, 
ignorant in their religion. Aspect of the land. Villagers of the valley of 
Petra. Their tales of Pharaoh and Moses. Petra : the monuments, the 
Sik, Elgy, Mount Hor. Medain Lut. Graaf. " The Wise of Edom." 
The land of Uz. "The Controversy of Zion." Doeg and David. Idumea 
southward to the Akaba Gulf. The Hisma. Sheykh Ibn Jad. Red sand- 
stone land of Edom. The Syrian lark. An afrit. Remove from Maan. 
The desert plain. The camping grounds of Israel in the desert. Passengers' 

and caravaners' names, and land names 28 — 49 

P. T. b 



xvi CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE HAJ JOURNEYING IN ARABIA. 

PAGE 

Trooping gazelles. The brow of Arabia. Batn el-Ghrdl. A fainting 
derwish. Pilgrim " martyrs." The Ghrol or Ogre of the desert. Iram. 
Nomads B. Atieh, or Maazy. "The maiden's bundle of money." The 
art of travel. Desert Arabia. The Haj pilot. Camels faint. Rocket 
signals by night. Aspect of the Desert. Medowwara. Hallat Ammar. 
That Haj. The " wild Cow:' Sherarat nomads (B. Miiklib). The 
Persian pilgrims. Persian dames in the Haj. The pilgrims might ride in 
wagons. Mule litter marked with a Greek cross. Comparison with the 
Haj of " the thousands of Israel." The Mahmal. The motley hajjaj. 
The foot service. El-Eswad. The Muatterin. The massacre of Christians 
at Damascus. A discourse of the novices. The Haj camels. The takht 
er-R/um. Dying Persians carried in the camel-coaches. Pilgrimage of a 
lady deceased. Contradictions of the road. Camel-back muetthins. 
Persian haj jies, for defiling Mohammed's grave, have been burned at Medina. 
The Caravan thief. The imperial secretary. The Pasha. Pilgrim dogs from 
Syria. A cock on pilgrimage. Coursing desert hares. The th6b. El-Ka. 
Night march to Tebuk. The ancient village. The Pulpit mountain. 
The villagers. The Pasha paymaster. The story of his life. The game 
of the road. The Harra. El-Akhdar station. The Sweyfly. Visit the 
kella. The " Kady's garden." W. es-Sany. The " bear." Moaddam 
station. Water is scant. Gum-arabic tree. Dar el-Hamra station. 
Cholera year in the Haj. A man returned from the grave to Damascus. 
Abu Taka. Mubrak en-Naga. The miraculous camel. A cry among 
the Haj 50—84 



CHAPTER IV. 

MEDAIN [THE " CITIES " Of] SALIH. 

Encamp at Medain. Go to lodge in the kella. Few pilgrims see 
the monuments. Departure of the Haj for Medina. Beduins in the 
kella. Kellas seized by Beduins. The Moorish garrison. Haj Nejm. 
Mohammed Aly. Beduins mislike the Haj government. Violence of 
Mohammed Aly. Sheykh Motlog. The kella. Hejra of the old geogra- 
phers. Fehjat. Emporium of the gold and frankincense road. Koran 
fable of the Thamudites. Frankincense found. A lost pilgrim derwish 
arrives. Beduin music. Miseries of the Haj. A lone derwish walked 
600 miles to Maan from Mecca. Derelicts of the pilgrimage. The derwish 
found dead in the desert. The simum (pestilent) wind. Mohammed's re- 
ligion. Their fanaticism fetched from Mecca. Islam can never be better. 
The Sheykh Zeyd. Blackness and whiteness. Kellas built by Christian 
masons. The monuments visited. The "maiden's bower." Kasr, Kella 
and Borj. , The first inscription. The sculptured architecture. The 
hewn chamber. The Borj monuments. All the monuments are 
sepulchres. Thamud a people "of giant stature." The smith's "house." 






CONTENTS, xvii 

PAGE 

The smith and the maiden's love tragically ended. Kassiir Betheyny. 
The " cities " of Salih. Hid treasures. Arabia of our days a decayed 
land. The old oasis or caravan city. The birds. Beyt Akhreymdt. The 
" Senate house." The Nabatean letters forgotten in Mohammed's time. 
Woodwork of the monuments. There is no marble found. . . 85 — 117 



CHAPTER V. 

MEDAIN SALIH AND EL-' ALLY. 

The Diwdn. The Haj post. Beduins visit the kella. Cost of victualling 
and manning a kella. Syrian Kurds and Moorish tower guards. The 
desert tribes about el-Hejr. Nomad wasms. The day in the kella. 
Three manners of utterance in the Arabic speech. Their fable talk. The 
" Jews of Kheybar." Beny Kelb. Hunting the wild goat in the moun- 
tains. Antique perpendicular inscriptions. Bread baked under the 
ashes. Night in the mountain : we hear the ghrol. The porcupine : the 
colocynth gourd. The ostrich. Pitted rocks. Vulcanic neighbourhood. 
Rude rock-inscriptions. Antique quarries. Hejra clay-built. The Cross 
mark. Ancient villages between el-Hejr and Medina. Colonists at 
el-Hejr. Christmas at Medain. Sanies of Teyma. The way down to 
el-Ally. The Khreyby ruins. El-Ally. The Sheykh Ddhir. Sacra- 
mental gestures. The town founded by Barbary Derwishes. Voice of 
the muetthin. Dahir questions the stranger. The people and their town. 
Arabic wooden lock. Beduins mislike the town life. The English Queen 
is the chief Ruler in Islam. El- Ally a civil Hejaz town. Ibn Saud came 
against el-Ally. The Kady. Sickly climate. They go armed in their 
streets. Hejaz riots, battles joined with quarter-staves. History of 
the place. Rain falling. Dates. The women. Fables of Christians 
and Jews 119—149 



CHAPTER VI. 

EL-'ALLY, EL-KHREYBY, MEDAIN. 

A Jew arrived at el-Ally. A Turkish Pasha banished thither. The 
warm brook of the oasis. The orchards. The population. Abundance 
of rice from el-Wejh. Dahir's talk. Abu Rashid. An Arabic Shibboleth. 
Practice of medicine. Fanaticism in the town. Arabs have wandered through 
the African Continent very long ago. A Christian (fugitive) who became 
here a Moslem. The Khreyby is one of the villages of Hejra. Himyarite 
tombs and inscriptions. The Mubbidt. Korh. Antara, hero-poet. 
Dahir's urbanity. Return to Medain. Violence of M. Aly. His excuses. 
Ladder- beam to scale the monuments. The epitaphs impressed. Rain 
in Arabia. The sculptured birds. Sculptured human masks. The Semitic 
East a land of sepulchres. The simple Mohammedan burial. " The sides 
of the pit " in Isaiah and Ezekiel. The Nabatean manner to bury. A 
sealed treasure upon the rock Howwara : to remove it were to bring in the 
end of the world. A Moorish magical raiser of hid treasures. Miracles of 



xviii CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

the East. A Syrian Messiah in Damascus. Visit to the house of fools. 
Blasphemous voice of the camel. Sepulchre of the prophet Jonas. The 
judgment of Europeans weakened by sojourn in the East. Hydrography. 
The nejjab arrives. The Moslem and the European household life. All 
world's troubles are kindled by the hareem. They trust the Nasara more 
than themselves. Beduin robbers of the Haj. A night alarm. Habalis 
or foot robbers. Alarms continually about us. Contentious hareem 
corrected with the rod. . . . . . . . . 150 — 179 

Appendix to Chaps. IV. V. VI. 

The Nabatean Inscriptions upon the Monuments discovered by Mr. 
Doughty at Medain Salih, translated by M. Ernest Renan (Membre de 
VInstitut). Medain Salih, Note par M. Philippe Berger (Sous-Bibliothe- 
caire de VInstitut). The Bakhur, or Drugs of the Embalmers : Note by 
Prof. G. D. Liveing. The Shroud Clouts, Leathern Shreds, &c. : Note by 
Prof. A. Macalister. Thamud ; with note from Sir Henry C. Rawlinson. 
The Money of Ancient Arabia : Note by Mr. Barclay V. Head. . 180 — 189 

CHAPTER VII. 

RETURN OF THE HAJ. 

The last inscription. Whilst M. Aly with men of the garrison goes 
down to el-Ally, our flock is taken by robbers. Alleluia. " Hap " 
in Mohammedan mouths. The robbers' supper. Haj Nejm's valour. 
Nejm and the Arabian Prince Ibn Rashid. The Emir's oratory. The 
Emir had shed blood of his next kinsfolk. Devout mislivers. Riddling 
at the coffee fire. The robbers' tribe guessed by their speech. W. Aly 
wavering : alarms. New guests of the kella. Ibn Rashid's gift-mare. 
The Jurdy arrive. Words of their chief. Ally fruit-sellers. Beduins would 
pilfer the camp. Mehsan the Bountiful. The soldiery shooting at the 
Beduins. Mohammed " Father-of -teeth." A Jeheyna Beduwy arrested. 
Ibn Rashid's messengers. Abd el-Aziz. Arabic cheer. M. Aly's saws to 
the Teyamena. The Nejders, men of prayers. Cannon shot in the night- 
watches. The bitter night hours for the half-clad people lodging abroad. 
Small-pox in the ascending Haj. Locusts gathered for meat. Tolerance 
of the multitude : the Nasrany amongst them. Of his adventuring 
further into Arabia. An Ageyly of East Nejd. The Pilgrim caravans are 
as corrupt torrents flowing through the land of Arabia. The Haj arriving. 
The camp and market. The Persian mukowwem accused at Medina. The 
watering. A Beduin of Murra. M. Aly had been charged by the Pasha 
and the Sir-Amin for the Nasrany. The Pasha and officers dissuaded 
Zeyd. Algerian derwishes. Nejd mares. Departure with the Haj from 
Medain Salih. Beduin vaunting. Few slaves from the African Continent 
are brought up in the Haj. Beduins stop their nostrils. A gentle derwish. 
Tidings of War. Saying of a Turkish officer. The Haj menzil. The 
military bone-setter. Giant derwish of the Medan. A meteor. Ageylies. 
The remove. Meeting with M. Said Pasha. Leave the Haj Caravan and 
enter the Beduin deserts. Zeyd's words to the stranger. . . 190 — 214 



CONTENTS. xix 



CHAPTEK VIII. 

V THE NOMAD LIFE IN THE DESERT. 

v-The Fejir Beduins. 

PAGE 

Camel milk. Come to Zeyd's tent. Hirfa his wife. The rahla. 
Only women labour for the household. Precious water. The rabia. 
" Written " rocks. Camels fasting from water, and thriving in the fresh 
season. The Nomad year. The camp standing where they find pasture. 
More of the rahla. Alighting at a new camp. The Fukara encampment. 
Zeyd's Aarab. The " building " of Zeyd's tent. Zeyd's coffee-fire. The 
Sheykh's coffee-fire. Aarab signifies with them ' the people.' The 
Arabian nomad booth. The household stuff. God's guests. Zeyd's tale. 
Zeyd's tribe. The Turkish and English regarded as tribes. Zeyd's 
marriages. Hirfa. Hirfa's flight. Howeytat camel-brokers. Their 
Beduin nation. Keyif. Nomad colonists. Are the Howeytat Nabateans ? 
The rafik. Hirfa led home again. The woman's lot among them. An 
old wife of Zeyd. Nomad motherhood. An Asiatic woman's superstition. 
Arabian men of a feminine aspect. Women praying. The Semitic 
opinion of womankind. Women veiled or unveiled. The woman and 
mother in the Hebrew law. Childbearing in the desert life. The 
old Arabian custom to bury female children living. The son and the 
daughter in the nomad household. The Nomads not easily imagine a 
future life. Sacrifice for the dead. Tender memory of the men for their 
deceased fathers. In the border lands women go to the graves to weep. 
Nomad children -not smitten. " The lie is shameful." . . . 215 — 241 



CHAPTEB IX. 
/ 

LIFE IN THE WANDERING VILLAGE. 

Sand pools. Fantastic forms of wasting sand-rocks. Nomad topo- 
graphy. The Beduins toil not. They are constrained to be robbers. 
Life in the worsted village. Nomads rise with the sun. The cup of 
coffee. The coffee company. The higher or inner seat about the hearth 
more honourable. Sybarites of the desert. Galliuns. Beduins given to 
coffee and tobacco. The old coffee trees of the world. Wahaby opinion of 
tobacco. The Mejlis. Justice in the desert. Day-sleepers. The Beduin 
prayer. Motlog the great sheykh. The sheukh are nobles. The Agid. 
Their fear of treading upon serpents in the darkness. The Nasrany 
among the desert tribesmen. Vaccination. Abu Fdris. He answers 
them in Hayil. The second Abu Faris. The magnanimity of the desert. 
His good fortune among them. Inoculation. The medicine box opened. 
They use even unclean things in medicine. The hakim in Arabia. Their 
diseases. The Physician is Ullah. The Beduwy's mind is in his eyes. 
Their knavery. Physicians should be paid only upon their patients' 
amendment. Hijabs. Metaab's amulet. A spell against lead. The jan 
or demons of under -earth. Exorcism. Indigence and welfaring. Our 



xx CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

evening fire. The sheykh's mare. Reclining posture of these Asiatics. 
Floor-sitters and chair-sitters. The mare is a chargeable possession. The 
mare's foster-camel. Mereesy. Nomad milk supper. Orientalism not of 
the Aarab. The kassads. The nomads' fantasy high and religious. 
Some turns and the religious amenity of their speech. The Beduin talk. 
Every tribe's loghra. Their malice. The Semites cannot blaspheme 
divine things. Herdmen's grossness in the Semitic nature. Their male- 
diction. Their oaths. Their magnanimity not to the death. Zeyd 
proffers to clear himself by an oath. Forms of conjuring protection 
and amnesty. ' His beard ' said for the honour of a man. To swear, 
By -the -life -of.... The Arabs' leave-taking is ungracious. . . . 242 — 270 



^CHAPTER X. 

THE NOMADS IN THE DESEKT ; VISIT TO TEYMA. 

A formidable year for the Fukara. The tribe in the North. Enigma 
of the Nasrany. The Sdiehh or World's Wanderer. Damascus the 
' World's Paradise.' The Nasrany, whether a treasure seeker, or a spy. 
' The Lord give victory to the SooltdnS The horses of the Nasara are 
pack-horses. The Fejir reckoned a tribe of horsemen. They dread, hearing 
of our armed multitudes. The war in the Crimea. ' The flesh of the 
Nasara better than theirs.' How should the Nasara live, not having the 
date in their land ? The Nasara inhabit land beyond seven floods. 
' The stranger to the it'oZ/.' The Nasrany in land of the Beduw. They 
wondered that we carry no arms in our own country. The Lappish 
nomads and the Arctic dira. The land of the Nasara very populous. 
Shooting stars fall upon the heads of the kuffar. Art-Indian. The Nasrany's 
camel wounded beyond cure. The " desert fiends." Nomad deposits in 
the deserts. The Solubbies. Precept of their patriarch. Their landcraft 
and hunting in which they surpass the Aarab. They want not. Journey 
for provisions to Teyma. The Beny Kelb. The green oasis in sight. 
The orchard towers. Teyma, a colony of Shammar, very prosperous. 
Their wells are of the ancients. Teyma of the Jews, (the Biblical Tema). 
The townspeople. The Nejd coffee-fire. The coffee-hall. The viol 
forbidden in the estates of Ibn Rashid. Rahyel, marriage of a Beduwy 
sheykh and a townswoman. The moon eclipsed. Ibn Rashid's Resident. 
Stately carriage of the Shammar Princes. The slave trade. A building 
of old Teyma. Inscription. The Haddaj. The Sudny. Sleyman and 
the hareem of his household. An untimely grave. Teyma husbandry. 
Teyma fruits given to any stranger, but not sold. Teyma dates. Dates 
are currency. Sons of Damascenes at Teyma. Kasr Zellum. Inscription 
with eyes. The oasis a loam bottom. Way to Jauf. The evening 
company. They blame the religion of the Nasara. Religion of the 
Messiah. A wedder of fifteen wives. The Mosaic commandments. The 
ancient scriptures they 6ay to be falsified by us. " The people of the 
Scriptures." Biblical Teyma. The tribesmen depart from Teyma by 
night. The Fukara in fear of Ibn Rashid forsake their dira. . . 271 — 301 



CONTENTS, xxi 

CHAPTER XI. 

THE FUKARA WANDERING AS FUGITIVES IN ANOTHER DIRA. 

PAGE 

The Beduin camp by night without tents. Children with no clothing 
in the cold. A forced march. They are little wearied by camel-riding. 
J. Birrd. Sunsetting glories in the desert. The milch cattle dry after 
the long journey. We encamp in the Bishr marches. A little herd-boy 
missing. Marked? s hand-plant. Removing and encamping. Some re- 
mains of ancient occupation. Trivet stones in the empty desert. Cattle 
paths over all. Visit to Abu Zeyd's effigy. Desert creatures. The owl 
was a nomad wife seeking her lost child. Breakfast of dandelions. 
Hospitable herdsmen. Abu Zeyd and Alia his wife. We discover a 
' water of the rock.' A plant of nightshade. Herding lasses. The 
sheykhs' mares. Rain toward. The Beduins encamped in the Nefud. 
Sounding sands. " The kahwat of the Nasara." Whether tea be wine. 
Hirfa invited to tea. The wet mare. The Arabian horses mild as their 
nomad households. Horse -shoes. Firing a mare. Zeyd plays the 
Solubby. They look with curious admiration upon writing. Beduin 
traders come from Jauf. The Beduins weary of the destitute life of the 
desert. Their melancholy. Men and women dote upon tobacco. A tobacco 
seller. His malicious extortion moves Zeyd's anger. ' For three things a 
man should not smoke tobacco ' (words of a Nomad maker of lays). The 
tribe is divided into two camps. The samkk plant. Wild bread in the 
wilderness. The Nasrany in danger of a serpent. ' Readers ' of spells. 
The ligature unknown. One seeks medicine who had sucked the poisoned 
wound of a serpent. Blood stones, snake stones, precious stones. 
Eyyal Amm. " / am tke Lord tky God." Contentions among them. 
The Nomad sheykhs' wise government. A tribesman wounded in a strife. 
Are the Fehjat Yahud Kheybar ? A fair woman. Allayda sheykhs, exiles. 
Half-blooded tribesmen. Evening mirth at the tent fire. Some learn 
English words. Zeyd would give one of his wives in marriage to the 
Nasrany, his brother. Marriage in the desert. Herding maidens in the 
desert. The desert day till the evening. Desert land of high plains and 
mountain passages. The short spring refreshment of the desert year. 
The lambing time. The camels calve. The milch camel. Milk diet. 
The kinds of milk. The saurian Hamed sheykh of wild beasts. The 
jerboa. The wabbar. The wolf eaten by the Aarab, and the hyena. 
The wild goat. The gazelle. The antelope. Is the wothyhi the 
unicorn ? Scorpions. The leopard. The wild cat. Buzzards, hawks, 
and eagles 301—329 

CHAPTER XII. 

PEACE IN THE DESERT. 

Motlog arrives. The Bishr, of Annezy. The Ruwalla and Jellas. A 
sheykh of Teyma. The Haddaj fallen. Ascribed to ' the eye.' Great 
ghrazzu of Bishr. Great counter-riding of the W. Aly. Their meeting 
in the khala. The young leaders tilt together. Pitiful submission of the 



xxii CONTENTS. 

W. Aly. Golden piety of the desert. Life for life. " Pillars " of locusts. 
Locust eating. They would all see the book of pictures. The Nomads' 
dogs. The greyhound. Human thieves called ' dogs.' The children's 
evening revels. The Arabian nomads use no manly games. Circumcision 
festival. The wilderness fainting in the sunny drought. Robbers. Our 
camels stolen. How might these robbers be known ? The fortune of a 
Beduin tribe. The pursuit. Tribesmen's loss of stolen cattle made good 
out of the common contribution. The law in the desert, in the matter of 
cattle taken by the enemy. The ghrazzu the destruction of the Aarab. 
A murrain. Zeyd's fortune. Return of the pursuit. The tribesmen's 
lack of public spirit. Motlog's return from Hayil. Ibn Rashid's bounties. 
His taxes. The Fukara marching again to their home dira. El-Erudda. 
Fugitive camels fled back 350 miles to their own country. A Moahib 
foray cuts out and saves a few of our camels from the robbers (which 
were of B. Sokhr). Response of the B. Sokhr. Contention with Zeyd. 
A Beduin mother. Zeyd reconciled. How Beduins may attack the Haj. 
Beduin " hour." Zeyd would not have his son learn letters of a stranger. 
Many Arabic book and town words are unknown to the Nomads. Pur- 
chase of another camel. Years of the camel. .... 330 — 355 

CHAPTER XIII. 

MEDAIN EEVISITED. PASSAGE OP THE HARRA. 

The sight of the Harra. Dye -fungus. The simum wind. Arrive with 
Zeyd at the kella Medain Salih. Zeyd's complaint. Departure of Zeyd 
and the Beduins. Breathless heat. M. ed-Deybis. The ahhu. The 
Mezham inscriptions. Falcons. Strife of Nomads in the kella. ' Gun- 
salt.' Hejra site revisited. The possessed tree. Doolan an Antarid. 
The new moon. A star fallen. Invaded by locusts. Coffee company of 
the W. Aly sheykhs in the kella. Motlog Allayda. His son Fahd. Night 
alarm in the kella ; Nejm threatens to kill the lad Mohammed. New 
alarm. The lad Mohammed's marriage. Departure from the kella. Come 
again to the Beduins at el-Erudda. The hummu. At length the sun sets. 
Passage of the Harra. The gum-arabic acacia. Tan wood. Height of 
the vulcanic Harra. The Moahib. Barrows. Fortitude of the pack 
camels. Dars of the Nomads. A meeting with Aarab. Come to the 
Sehamma encamped in the Tehama. The sheykh Mahanna. Simum air 
of the Tehama '..... 356—384 

CHAPTER XIV. 

WANDERING UPON THE HARRA WITH THE MOAHIB. 

View of volcanoes. " Nazarene houses." The ancients of these 
countries. Fabulous tales. The Beny Helal. The Seyl el-Arem. The 
old heroic generation. Their sepulchres. Mahanna' s mother. The Shizm. 
The Yahud Kheybar. The Billi clans. Diseases. Muzayyins. Our kiifl 
come again from Wejh. The sheykh's mare perishes of thirst. Men of 
another menzil discourse with the Nasrany. Mahanna's housewife. 
Seeking the Moahib upon the Harra. The wonderful vulcanic country. 









CONTENTS. xxiii 

PAGE 

Antique graves there not of the Mohammedan Beduins. We ride at 
adventure looking for the Aarab. Mishwat. A contention in hospitality. 
The Moahib and Sbaa tribesmen of Annezy. Alliances of the tribes. A 
Beduin host's breakfast. Thanks after meat. The Moahib sheykh 
Tollog. The Moor Abu Sinun's household. His thriving in the Nomad 
life. The Moahib camp in the Harra. The crater hills. A Howeytat 
sheykh comes in to sue for blood-money. Their wonder-talk of the Nasara. 
A vulcanic hill. The face of the Harra ; — intolerably cold in winter. 
Scarcity of water. Abu Sinun come again from a journey. His voyage 
from the West Country. Tollog bids the Nasrany depart. Housewives 
talk with the stranger. Faiz the herdsman. ..... 385 — 410 

Appendix to Chap. XIV. 

Signification of the word Namus . . . . . . . 411 

CHAPTER XV. 

NOMAD LIFE UPON THE HARRA. 

Tollog commands and the Nasrany resists. A redoubtable bowl of 
leban. They fear the tea-making of the Nasrany. Tollog visited in the 
dark. The Shefa country. Topology. The Aueyrid Harra. Planetary 
antiquity of the Harra. A great vulcanic eruption ; Vesuvius. Is Lava 
the Arabic laba ? It is an art to enquire of the Beduw. The sheykhs 
have no great land knowledge. The ancient tribe of Jeheyna. The 
height of the Harra. Tollog visits the stranger in his tent. Tollog sick. 
Phantom camel. The sheep of the Nomads. The wolf by night. The 
Nomads' watch-dogs. The shepherd's life. Rubba the herdsman. Rachel 
is rokhal of the Aarab. Murrain in the land. Wool-wives. Goats 
of the Nomads have run wild. Gazelle fawns bred up by the Nomads. 
The milk season. The Moahib descend to the plain deserts. Jaysh. 
A troop seen. Descent into W. Garib. The grave-heap of Abu Zeyd's 
mother. The children's pastimes. Mehsan the Bountiful journeying 
from the North is robbed by a ghrazzu. Abu Selim the Moorish eye- 
pricker 412—435 

CHAPTER XVI. 

THE AARAB FORSAKE THE HARRA, AND DESCEND TO THEIR 
SUMMER STATION IN WADY THIRBA. 

A son born to old Tollog. The Senna plant. The women's camel 
crates. Their rahlas in the summer heat. Surgery in the desert. The 
Thorreyid passage. The rose-laurel of Syria. The desert valley Thirba. 
Multitude of great and well-built barrows. Dead villages. The springing 
wells in Thirba. Their summer station. The people's hunger. Life 
bare of all things. The hot day of famine. They suppose the Nasrany 
to be an exile. The Arabs are tale-bearers. They are pleased with the 
discourse of the stranger. Questions and answers in religion. The 
barrows. The menhel. Birds at the water. Burying-place and prayer- 
D. T. C 



xxiv CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

steads. The Meluk. Burial of the dead. Tollog's sacrifice. Blood- 
sprinkling. Korban. The tribes would not descend this year to 
Kheybar. The Nasrany desires to increase their waters. The Moahib in 
doubt whether they should submit to Ibn Rashid. They bring their 
weapons to the Nasrany. The nagas coming home to water. The 
watering. The elephant, the swine, the lion, are but names to them. 
Daryesh 436 — 161 

CHAPTEK XVII. 

THE MOAHIB SUMMER CAMP IN WADY THIRBA. 

VISIT TO EL-'ALLY. 

Meteoric rumour in the mountain. Women cover the throat. The 
colocynth. Charms for love. Fair women. Miblis. Hamed's kasida. 
The Nasrany called to name one of their daughters. Beduins weary of 
the songs of the desert. Names of Beduin women. A childing woman. 
Strife betwixt young tribesmen. Tollog's apology for his many marriages. 
A Beduin slayer of himself. The nomads' splenetic humour, and 
their religious mind. Hamdy. The plagues of Mecca. The summer 
famine. The old hermits. False war news. Is St. Sergius, since his 
death, become a Moslem ? Wejh. Certain Nasarenes dwelling there. 
Mahanna arrives to require blood-money. A Kheybar villager arrives at 
el-Ally. The Nasrany departs for el-Ally. Horeysh. The Akhma. 
Summer night at el-Ally. Musa's coffee-house. The jummaa or Semitic 
faction. The hospitable kady. Whether the righteous man may ' drink 
smoke ' ? Return with Horeysh. He yields the Nasrany his thelul. 
Ghosts in Thirba. Come again to the Beduw. The Nasrany accused by 
Horeysh, is acquitted by the sheykhs. ...... 462 — 485 

CHAPTEK XVIII. 

THE FUKARA SUMMERING AT EL-HEJR. 

Tollog removes with the most households. Thahir. The Simum. 
Alarm in the night. The ghrazzu. Locusts again. The son of Horeysh 
assails the Nasrany. Thahir casting bullets. His words of the Meluk. 
Bride-money. Blood-money, how discharged. Phlebotomy. Set out to 
go to Tollog in W. Shellal. Salamy. The Khueyra naga finds the way. 
The Aarab in the valley. Reconciled with Horeysh. Malicious tale of 
Abdullah. How dare the Nasara make war against el-Islam ? A maker of 
lays. Fable of an enchanted treasure. Thahir' s daughter wife of Tollog. 
The (often) grinning looks of Nomad herdsmen. Mishwat's sacrifice. 
Strife of tribesmen at the weyrid. A lonely passage to Medain Salih. 
A Fejiry sheykh may be known in distant sight. | Come again to the 
Fukara. Visit Haj Nejm in the kella. A fanatical W. Aly sheykh. 
Motlog's and Tollog's words to the Nasrany. Ibrahim the Haj post. The 
Hejr monuments. A foray of Mahanna. Lineage of the Sherarat un- 
known to themselves. Moahib sheykhs ride to make their submission to 
Ibn Rashid. Warmth of the air at night. Marriage with an uncle's 
divorced wife. El-Ally revisited in the first days of the new dates. 
Howeychim. Ramathan month. The summer heat at el-Hejr. Motlog's 



CONTENTS. xxv 

PAGE 

eldest son Therryeh. A Syrian hajjy living with our Aarab. The Kella 
palms. Evening with Haj Nejm. A new journey to el- Ally. Alarm 
in returning by night. Daryesh and Doolan find the footprints of 
Horeysh 486—516 

CHAPTER XIX. 

TEYMA. 
Final departure from Medain Salih, with the Aarab. An alarm at sun- 
rising. Disaster of the Moahib. Journey towards Teyma. Watching for 
the new moon. The month of Lent begins. Teyma in sight. Husbandmen. 
A distracted poor woman. An outlying grange. Ramathan. The new 
ripening dates. Townsmen's talk at our coffee-fire. A troubled morrow. 
A wayfaring man may break his fast. Hasan. Ajeyl. Visiting the sick. 
The custom of spitting upon sore eyes. Khdlaf sheykh of Teyma. 
Lenten breakfast after sunset. Lenten supper at midnight. A Beduin's 
1 travellers' tales.' A nomad of the north discourses favourably of the 
Nasara. An exile from el-Ally. A fanatic rebuked. Antique columns. 
A smith's household. Teyma is three oases. A mare of the blood upon 
three legs. Fowling at Teyma. Migration of birds. The Nasrany 
observes not their fast. Mehsan pitched in a hauta or orchard of 
Teyma. A pastime of draughts. Women fasting. Mehsan's impatience 
with his household. The autumn at hand. " El-Islam shall be saved by 
theBeduw." Their opinion of the Christian fasting. . . . 517 — 538 

CHAPTER XX. 

THE DATE HARVEST. 
Damsels to wed. Fair women. The people of Teyma untaught. 
Their levity noted by the Beduins. The well camels. Labourers at the 
ruined haddaj. Beduins swimming in the haddaj. Project to rebuild the 
haddaj. Ibn Rashid's Resident. Ibn Rashid a Hakim el- Aarab. The 
Medina government cast their eyes upon Teyma. Unreasonable patients. 
Oasis ophthalmia. The evil eye. Exorcism. Zelots in Ramathan. The 
ruined site of Mosaic Teyma. Reported necropolis of antique Teyma 
with inscriptions. The seven ancient boroughs of this province. A new 
well-ground. African slave -blood in the Peninsula. The Arabian 
bondage is mild. Ramathan ended. Bairam festival. A whistler. The 
music of Damascus. The Fukara arrive. Beduins of Bishr flocking into 
the town. The date-gathering. An Harb dancing woman. Misshel's 
words. Better news of the Moahib. The visit of Hamed and Wayil to 
Ibn Rashid. Nomad butchers. Mehsan's petition. The "wild ox" or 
wothyhi. The ancient archery. The Aarab friends are slow to further 
the Nasrany's voyage. The Bishr at Teyma. An Heteymy sheykh. 
Dispute with Zeyd's herdsmen. Last evening at Teyma. Zeyd. . . 539 — 565 

CHAPTER XXI. 

THE JEBEL. 
Depart from Teyma with Bishr. Journey eastward in the rain. 
Misshel the great sheykh makes and serves coffee. Women of Bishr. Ibn 



xxvi CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Mertaad. Hospitality of a sheykh in the wilderness. Come to Misshel's 
tents. Misshel's threats. Depart with a company for Hayil. A journey 
with thelul riders. The Nasrany esteemed a Beduwy and a cattle thief. 
Arrive at tents by night. A Beduin who had served in the Ageyl. A 
Shammar sheykh in the desert. He wishes well to the Engleysy. Nejd 
Arabia is nearly rainless. Questions and answers of the Beduw. Extreme 
fatigue of riding. An appearance of water. Askar's counsel. Arrive at 
the first Shammar village. Mogug. Judgment given by the sheykh for the 
Nasrany. Their kahwa. A liberal-minded young scholar. An Irak 
Beduwy accuses the Nasrany. The Nejd speech. Depart for Hayil. Ria- 
es-Self. A perilous meeting in the ria. Bishr and Shammar not 
good neighbours. View of the mountain landmark of Hayil. Gofar. 
Veiled Nejd women. Public hospitality at Gofar. Outlying Gofar in 
ruins. Desert plain before Hayil. Passengers by the way. Horsemen. 
Approaching Hayil. Beduin guile. Abd el-Aziz. Enter Hayil. The 
public place. The Kasr. Mufarrij. The public kahwa. The guest-hall 
or mothif. The Prince's secretary. The Nasrany breught before the 
Prince Ibn Bashid. The audience. A Mohammedan book-tale of the 
Messiah. An unlucky reading. A seal. Walk in the Kasr planta- 
tion with Mohammed the Emir. Their deep wells of irrigation. The 
wothyhi 566—593 

CHAPTER XXII. 

HAYIL. 

Evening with the Emir Hamiid. Abeyd's kahwa. An apostate Jew. 
Hamud's sword. Hamud makes the Nasrany a supper. The " last 
prayers." Mohammed and Hamud in the sight of the people. Evening 
with the Emir Mohammed. Idle persons follow the Nasrany in the streets. 
Ghranim. Abdullah. The Jew Moslem. A lost caravan. Jar Ullah. 
Aneybar ibn Bashid. Whiteness of the European skin taken for the 
white leprosy. " Water of the grape." Death in the coffee-cups of 
princes. The Meshed merchants. The Nasrany shows them a book of 
geography. Merchandise in Hayil. Ibn Bashid's artillery. The Prince's 
mejlis. A bribe at Hayil. The Emir's leisure. His policy. His riding. 
Aarab in Hayil. The dellals. The suk. Price of flesh meat. Mufarrij ; 
he bids the public guests. Summ or simm — poison or bismillah. Cost 
of the Mothif. The Beduin coffee-drinkers in the public kahwa. 
The Emir Mohammed rides to visit his cattle in the desert. The 
Prince's stud. The Prince's wealth. The State Treasury. Hamud 
remains deputy in Hayil. A Mdan or wild goat in Hamud's orchard. 
Cost of an irrigation well at Hayil. Majid. Hayil is town rather 
than oasis. Sumra Hayil. The Ria Agda. Old Hayil. A ruined 
outlying quarter. The burial-ground. Abeyd's grave. Certain resident 
nomads. 594 — 619 

Appendix to Vol. I. 

The Nabatean sculptured Architecture at Medain Salih ; Note by 
M. le Marquis de Vogue (Membre de VInstitut) 620 — 623 



INTRODUCTION. 

It is not comfortable to have to write about " Arabia Deserta." 
I have studied it for ten years, and have grown to consider it a 
book not like other books, but something particular, a bible of 
its kind. To turn round now and reckon its merits and demerits 
seems absurd. I do not think that any traveller in Arabia 
before or since Mr. Doughty has qualified himself to praise the 
book — much less to blame it. The more you learn of Arabia 
the more you find in " Arabia Deserta." The more you travel 
there the greater your respect for the insight, judgment and 
artistry of the author. We call the book " Doughty " pure and 
simple, for it is a classic, and the personality of Mr. Doughty 
hardly comes into question. Indeed, it is rather shocking to 
learn that he is a real and living person. The book has no date 
and can never grow old. It is the first and indispensable work 
upon the Arabs of the desert ; and if it has not always been 
referred to, or enough read, that has been because it was exces- 
sively rare. Every student of Arabia wants a copy. 

However, there is no need at this time of day to commend 
Doughty to students. They all know of him. It is to the outside 
public, willing to read a great prose work, the record of the 
wanderings of an English poet for two years among the Beduins, 
that this edition must make its appeal, and perhaps with them 
that the verdict of present-day travellers in Arabia will have 
weight. I have talked the book over with many travellers, and 
we are agreed that here you have all the desert, its hills and 
plains, the lava fields, the villages, the tents, the men and animals. 
They are told of to the life, with words and phrases fitted to them 
so perfectly that one cannot dissociate them in memory. It is 
the true Arabia, the land with its smells and dirt, as well as its 
nobility and freedom. There is no sentiment, nothing merely 
picturesque, that most common failing of oriental travel-books. 
Doughty's completeness is devastating. There is nothing we 
would take away, little we could add. He took all Arabia for 
his province, and has left to his successors only the poor part of 
specialists. We may write books on parts of the desert or some 
of the history of it ; but there can never be another picture of the 
whole, in our time, because here it is all said, and by a great master. 
D. t. d 



xxviii INTRODUCTION. 

There have been many well-endowed Englishmen travelling 
in Arabia, and most of them have written books. None have 
brought away a prize as rich as Doughty brought, and the merit 
of this is his own unaided merit. He had many things against 
him. Forty years ago the desert was less hospitable to strangers 
than it is to-day. Turkey was still strong there, and the Wahabi 
movement had kept fanaticism vivid in the tribes. Doughty 
was a pioneer, both as European and Christian, in nearly all the 
districts he entered. Also he was poor. He came down a lone 
man from Damascus with the pilgrim caravan, and was left 
behind at Medain Salih with scant recommendation. He struck 
out into the desert dressed like the very poor, travelling like the 
very poor, trying to maintain himself by the practice of rational 
medicine, in a society more willing to invest in charms. 

Then he was a sick man. His health was weak when he 
started, and the climate of the plateau of Arabia is a trying one, 
with its extremes of heat and cold, and the poverty of its nourish- 
ment. He had been brought up in England, a fruitful country 
of rich and plentiful food. He came as a guest to the Arab 
tents, to share their lean hospitality, and to support himself on 
the little that sufficed them. They treated him to what they 
had themselves. Their skinny bodies subsisted well enough on 
a spring season of camel-milk, and rare meals of dates or meat 
for the barren months of the year, but such a diet was starvation 
for an Englishman. It would be short commons to a sedentary 
man ; but Doughty was for ever wandering about, often riding 
from sunrise to sunset, if not for half the night, in forced marches 
across rocky and toilsome country, under a burning sun, or in 
keen exhausting winds. Travel in Arabia in the best circum- 
stances, with a train of servants, good riding-beasts, tents and 
your own kitchen, is a trying experience. Doughty faced it native- 
fashion, in spite of his physical disadvantages, and brought 
home more booty than we all. The sheer endurance of his effort 
is wonderful. 

Somewhere he half apologises for his defects, calling his book 
the seeing of a hungry man, the telling of a most weary man; 
nevertheless he seems to have recorded everything. We have 
all sometimes been weary in the desert, and some of us have 
been hungry there, but none of us triumphed over our bodies 
as Doughty did. He makes his hardships a positive profit to 
him, by distilling from them into his pages that sense of strain 
and desolation which will remind every Arabian traveller vividly 
of his own less fortunate moments. Yet even at such times, 
coming so often in these two dangerous years, Doughty's keenness 
of observation was not reduced. He goes on showing us the 



INTRODUCTION. xxix 

circumstances and the characters and the places of his tale, 
without any loss of interest : and that this could be so is a high 
testimony, not only to his strength of mind, but also to the 
imaginative appeal of Arabia and the Arabs to him and to us. 

For his own strength of character his book stands unconscious 
witness. He has revealed himself to us in his pages indirectly 
(the book is never morbid, never introspective), almost unwil- 
lingly, for the way of telling is detached, making no parade of 
good or evil. He refused to be the hero of his story. Yet he 
was very really the hero of his journey, and the Arabs knew how 
great he was. I spent nine months in Western Arabia, much of 
it in the districts through which he had passed, and I found that 
he had become history in the desert. It was more than forty 
years ago, and that space of time would even in our country 
cause much to be forgotten. In the desert it is relatively longer, 
for the hardships of common life leave little chance for the body 
to recruit itself, and somen are short-lived and their memories 
of strangers, and events outside the family tree, soon fail. 
Doughty's visit was to their fathers or grandfathers, and yet 
they have all learned of him. They tell tales of him, making 
something of a legend of the tall and impressive figure, very 
wise and gentle, who came to them like a herald of the outside 
world. His aloofness from the common vexations of their 
humanity coloured their imagination. He was very patient, 
generous and pitiful, to be accepted into their confidence without 
doubt. 

They say that he seemed proud only of being Christian, and 
yet never crossed their faith. He was book-learned, but simple 
in the arts of living, ignorant of camels, trustful of every man, 
very silent. He was the first Englishman they had met. He 
predisposed them to give a chance to other men of his race, 
because they had found him honourable and good. So he broke 
a road for his religion. He was followed by Mr. Wilfrid Blunt 
and Miss Gertrude Bell, other strong personalities. They con- 
firmed the desert in its view of Englishmen, and gave us a privi- 
leged position which is a grave responsibility upon all who follow 
them. Thanks to them an Englishman finds a welcome in 
Arabia, and can travel, not indeed comfortably for it is a terrible 
land, but safely over the tracks which Doughty opened with such 
pains. No country has been more fortunate in its ambassadors. 
We are accepted as worthy persons unless we prove ourselves the 
contrary by our own misdoings. This is no light monument to 
the memory of the man who stamped so clear an impression of his 
virtue on a nomad people in the casual journey ings of two years. 



xxx INTRODUCTION. 

We export two chief kinds of Englishmen, who in foreign 
parts divide themselves into two opposed classes. Some 
feel deeply the influence of the native people, and try to adjust 
themselves to its atmosphere and spirit. To fit themselves 
modestly into the picture they suppress all in them that would 
be discordant with local habits and colours. They imitate the 
native as far as possible, and so avoid friction in their daily life. 
However, they cannot avoid the consequences of imitation, a 
hollow, worthless thing. They are like the people but not of the 
people, and their half-perceptible differences give them a sham 
influence often greater than their merit. They urge the people 
among whom they live into strange, unnatural courses by imi- 
tating them so well that they are imitated back again. The 
other class of Englishmen is the larger class. In the same circum- 
stance of exile they reinforce their character by memories of the 
life they have left. In reaction against their foreign surroundings 
they take refuge in the England that was theirs. They assert 
their aloofness, their immunity, the more vividly for their loneli- 
ness and weakness. They impress the peoples among whom 
they live by reaction, by giving them an ensample of the com- 
plete Englishman, the foreigner intact. 

Doughty is a great member of the second, the cleaner class. 
He says that he was never oriental, though the sun made him 
an Arab ; and much of his value lies in the distinction. His seeing 
is altogether English: yet at the same time his externals, his 
manners, his dress, and his speech were Arabic, and nomad Arab, 
of the desert. The desert inhibits considered judgments ; its bare- 
ness and openness make its habitants frank. Men in it speak 
out their minds suddenly and unreservedly. Words in the desert 
are clear-cut. Doughty felt this contagion of truthfulness sharply 
(few travel- journals show a greater sensibility to climate and 
geography than this), and among the tribes he delivered himself 
like them. Even in the villages he maintained an untimely and 
uncompromising bluntness, in a firm protest against the glozing 
politic speech of the town- Arabs. His own origin was from the 
settled country of England, and this preference for the nomad 
might seem strange ; but in practice the Englishman, and 
especially the Englishman of family, finds the tribes more to his 
taste than the villages, and Doughty everywhere is the outspoken 
Beduin. His " stiffness to maintain a just opinion against the 
half -reason of the world " was often unwise — but always respect- 
able, and the Arabs respected him for it even where they 
resented it most. 

Very climatic, too, are his sudden changes of tone and judg- 
ment. The desert is a place of passing sensation, of cash-payment 






INTRODUCTION. xxxi 

of opinion. Men do not hold their minds in suspense for days, 
to arrive at a just and balanced average of thought. They say 
good at once when it is good, and bad at once when it is bad. 
Doughty has mirrored this also for us in himself. One paragraph 
will have a harsh judgment ; the next is warm kindness. His 
record ebbs and flows with his experience, and by reading not a 
part of the book but all of it you obtain a many-sided sympathetic 
vision, in the round, of his companions of these stormy and 

eventful years. 

* * *- * * 

The realism of the book is complete. Doughty tries to tell 
the full and exact truth of all that he saw. If there is a bias it 
will be against the Arabs, for he liked them so much ; he was 
so impressed by the strange attraction, isolation and independence 
of this people that he took pleasure in bringing out their virtues 
by a careful expression of their faults. " If one live any time 
with the Arab he will have all his life after a feeling of the desert." 
He had experienced it himself, the test of nomadism, that most 
deeply biting of all social disciplines, and for our sakes he strained 
all the more to paint it in its true colours, as a life too hard, too 
empty, too denying for all but the strongest and most determined 
men. Nothing is more powerful and real than this record of 
all his daily accidents and obstacles, and the feelings that came 
to him on the way. His picture of the Semites, sitting to the 
eyes in a cloaca, but with their brows touching Heaven, sums up 
in full measure their strength and weakness, and the strange 
contradictions of their thought which quicken our curiosity at 
our first meeting with them. 

To try and solve their riddle many of us have gone far into 
their society, and seen the clear hardness of their belief, a limita- 
tion almost mathematical, which repels us by its unsympathetic 
form. Semites have no half-tones in their register of vision. 
They are a people of primary colours, especially of black and 
white, who see the world always in line. They are a certain 
people, despising doubt, our modern crown of thorns. They do 
not understand our metaphysical difficulties, our self-question- 
ings. They know only truth and untruth, belief and unbelief, 
without our hesitating retinue of finer shades. 

Semites are black and white not only in vision, but in their 
inner furnishing ; black and white not merely in clarity, but in 
apposition. Their thoughts live easiest among extremes. They 
inhabit superlatives by choice. Sometimes the great incon- 
sistents seem to possess them jointly. They exclude compromise, 
and pursue the logic of their ideas to its absurd ends, without 
seeing incongruity in their opposed conclusions. They oscillate 



xxxii INTRODUCTION. 

with cool head and tranquil judgment from asymptote to 
asymptote, so imperturbably that they would seem hardly 
conscious of their giddy flight. 

They are a limited narrow-minded people whose inert intel- 
lects lie incuriously fallow. Their imaginations are keen but not 
creative. There is so little Arab art to-day in Asia that they 
can nearly be said to have no art, though their rulers have been 
liberal patrons and have encouraged their neighbours' talents in 
architecture, ceramic and handicraft. They show no longing 
for great industry, no organisations of mind or body anywhere. 
They invent no systems of philosophy or mythologies. They 
are the least morbid of peoples, who take the gift of life unques- 
tioning, as an axiom. To them it is a thing inevitable, entailed 
on man, a usufruct, beyond our control. Suicide is a thing 
nearly impossible and death no grief. 

They are a people of spasms, of upheavals, of ideas, the race 
of the individual genius. Their movements are the more shock- 
ing by contrast with the quietude of every day, their great men 
greater by contrast with the humanity of their mass. Their 
convictions are by instinct, their activities intuitional. Their 
largest manufacture is of creeds. They are monopolists of 
revealed religions, finding always an antagonism of body and 
spirit, and laying their stress on the spirit. Their profound 
reaction against matter leads them to preach barrenness, renuncia- 
tion, poverty : and this atmosphere stifles the minds of the 
desert pitilessly. They are always looking out towards those 
things in which mankind has had no lot or part. 

The Beduin has been born and brought up in the desert, and 
has embraced this barrenness too harsh for volunteers with all 
his soul, for the reason, felt but inarticulate, that there he finds 
himself indubitably free. He loses all natural ties, all comforting 
superfluities or complications, to achieve that personal liberty 
which haunts starvation and death. He sees no virtue in poverty 
herself ; he enjoys the little vices and luxuries — coffee, fresh 
water, women — which he can still afford. In his life he has air 
and winds, sun and light, open spaces and great emptiness. 
There is no human effort, no fecundity in Nature ; just heaven 
above and unspotted earth beneath ; and the only refuge and 
rhythm of their being is in God. This single God is to the 
Arab not anthropomorphic, not tangible or moral or ethical, not 
concerned particularly with the world or with him. He alone is 
great, and yet there is a homeliness, an every-day-ness of this 
Arab God who rules their eating, their fighting and their lusting ; 
and is their commonest thought, and companion, in a way 
impossible to those whose God is tediously veiled from them by 



INTROD UCT10N. xxxiii 

the decorum of formal worship. They feel no incongruity in 
bringing God into their weaknesses and appetites. He is the 
commonest of their words. 

This creed of the desert is an inheritance. The Arab does 
not value it extremely. He has never been either evangelist or 
proselyte. He arrives at this intense condensation of himself in 
God by shutting his eyes to the world, and to all the complex 
possibilities latent in him which only wealth and temptation 
could bring out. He attains a sure trust and a powerful 
trust, but of how narrow a field! His sterile experience 
perverts his human kindness to the image of the waste in 
which he hides. Accordingly he hurts himself, not merely to 
be free, but to please himself. There follows a self-delight 
in pain, a cruelty which is more to him than goods. The desert 
Arab finds no joy like the joy of voluntarily holding back. He 
finds luxury in abnegation, renunciation, self-restraint. He lives 
his own life in a hard selfishness. His desert is made a spiritual 
ice-house, in which is preserved intact but unimproved for all 
ages an idea of the unity of God. 



Doughty went among these people dispassionately, looked at 
their life, and wrote it down word for word. By being always 
Arab in manner and European in mind he maintained a perfect 
judgment, while bearing towards them a full sympathy which 
persuaded them to show him their inmost ideas. When his trial 
of two years was over he carried away in his note-book (so far as 
the art of writing can express the art of living) the soul of the 
desert, the complete existence of a remarkable and self-contained 
community, shut away from the currents of the world in the 
unchanging desert, working out their days in an environment 
utterly foreign to us. The economic reason for their existence 
is the demand for camels, which can be best bred on the thorns 
and plants of these healthy uplands. The desert is incapable of l 
other development, but admirably suited to this. Thejr__camel- 
breeding makes the Beduins nomads. The camels live only on 
the pasture of the desert, and as it is scanty a great herd will 
soon exhaust any one district. Then they with their maste^sjnust 
move to anothejr^jand gp they circulate mon^hTy~month in a 
course determined by the vegetation sprung up wherever the 
intermittent winter rains have this season fallen heaviest. 

The social organisation of the desert is in tribes, partly because 
of original family-feeling, partly because the instinct of self- 
preservation compels large masses of men to hold together for 
mutual support. By belonging to a recognised tribe each man 

3 



xxxiv INTRODUCTION. 

feels that he has a strong body of nominal kinsmen, to support 
him if he is injured ; and equally to bear the burden and to 
discharge his wrong-doing, when he is the guilty party. This 
collective responsibility makes men careful not to offend ; and 
makes punishment very easy. The offender is shut out from the 
system, and becomes an exile till he has made his peace again 
with the public opinion of his tribesmen. 

Each tribe has its district in the desert. The extent and 
nature of these tribal districts are determined by the economic 
laws of camel-breeding. Each holds a fair chance of pastureTall 
the year round in every normal year, and each holds enough 
drinking water to suffice all its households every year ; but the 
poverty of the country forces an internal subdivision of itself 
upon the tribe. The water-sources are usually single wells (often 
very scanty wells), and the pasturages small scattered patches in 
sheltered valleys or oases among the rocks. They could not 
accommodate at one time or place all the tribe, which therefore 
breaks into clans, and lives always as clans, wandering each apart 
on its own cycle within the orbit of the tribal whole. 

The society is illiterate, so each clan keeps small enough to 
enable all its adults to meet frequently, and discuss all common 
business verbally. Such general intercourse, and their open life 
beside one another in tents makes the desert a place altogether 
without privacy. Man lives candidly with man. It is a society 
in perpetual movement, an equality of voice and opportunity for 
every male. The daily hearth or sheikh's coffee-gathering is 
their education, a university for every man grown enough to walk 
and speak. 

It is also their news-office, their tribunal, their political 
expression, and their government. They bring and expose there 
in public every day all their ideas, their experiences, their opinions, 
and they sharpen one another, so that the desert society is always 
alive, instructed to a high moral level, and tolerant of new ideas. 
Common rumour makes them as unchanging as the desert in 
which they live ; but more often they show themselves singu- 
larly receptive, very open to useful innovations. Their few 
vested interests make it simple for them to change their ways ; 
but even so it is astonishing to find how whole-heartedly they 
adopt an invention fitted to their life. Coffee, gunpowder, 
Manchester cotton are all new things, and yet appear so native 
that without them one can hardly imagine their desert life. 

Consequently, one would expect a book such as " Arabia 
Deserta," written forty years ago, to be inaccurate to-day in 
such little respects, and had Doughty's work been solely scientific, 
dependent on the expression rather than the spirit of things, its 



INTRODUCTION. xxxv 

day might have passed. Happily the beauty of the telling, its 
truth to life, the rich gallery of characters and landscapes in it, 
will remain for all time, and will keep it peerless, as the indis- 
pensable foundation of all true understanding of the desert. 
And in these forty years the material changes have not been 
enough to make them really worth detailed record. 

The inscriptions at Medain Salih have been studied since his 
day by the Dominican fathers from Jerusalem, and some little 
points added to his store. The great stone at Teima which lay 
in the haddaj, was looked for by later travellers, and at last pur- 
chased and carried off to Europe. Doughty' s collections of these 
primitive Arab scripts have been surpassed ; but he holds the 
enduring credit of their discovery. His map, and some of his 
geographical information have been added to, and brought into 
relation with later information. People with cameras have wan- 
dered up and down the Aueyrid harrat in which he spent weeks, 
and of which he wrote so vivid a description. We know their 
outside face exactly, from photographs ; but to read Doughty 
is to know what they make one feel. Crossley and Kolls-Eoyce 
cars have made a road of some of that Wadi Humth, whose 
importance he first made clear to Europe. Aeroplanes have 
quartered the hills in which he found such painful going. Unfortu- 
nately those in cars and aeroplanes are not able to write intimate 
books about the country over which they pass. 

Another change in Arabia has come from the Hejaz Kailway, 
which in 1909 was opened from Damascus to Medina, and at once 
put an end to the great army which used to perform the pilgrimage 
by road. The Emir el Haj and his people now go by train, and the 
annual pageant of the camel-caravan is dead. The pilgrim road, 
of whose hundreds of worn tracks Doughty gave us such a picture, 
is now gone dull for lack of all those feet to polish it, and the 
kellas and cisterns from which he drank on the march to Medain 
Salih are falling into ruin, except so far as they serve the need of 
some guard-house on the railway. 

The Eashid dynasty in Hail has pursued as bloody a course 
since his day as before it. Saud, the last Emir, was murdered in 
1920, and the sole survivor of the family is an infant, whose pre- 
carious minority is being made the play of the ambition of one 
and another of the great chiefs of the Shammar tribe. On the 
other hand, the Wahabi dynasty of Eiath, which seemed in its 
decline, has suddenly revived in this generation, thanks to the 
courage and energy of Abd el-Aziz, the present Emir. He has 
subdued all Nejd with his arms, has revived the Wahabi sect in 
new stringency, and bids fair to subject all the inner deserts of 
the peninsula to his belief. The Emir's younger son was lately in 
D. x. e 



xxxvi INTRODUCTION. 

the Deputation he sent to this country, under the conduct of 
Mr. H. St. J. Philby, C.I.E., sometime British Kesident at 
er-Kiath, during the Great War. Whilst in England they 
visited Mr. Doughty. 

The Sherifate of Mecca, in whose humanity Doughty reposed 
at Taif at the end of his adventures, made a bid for the intellectual 
leadership of the Arabs in 1916 by rebelling against Turkey on 
the principle of nationality. The Western Arabs, among whom 
Doughty's ways had so long fallen, took a chivalrous part in the 
war as the allies of Great Britain and with our help. The Sherif 's 
four sons put themselves at the head of the townsmen and tribes- 
men of the Hejaz, and gave the British officers assisting them 
the freedom of the desert. All the old names were in our ranks. 
There were Harb, Juheyma, and Billi, whom Doughty mentioned. 
His old hosts, the Abu Shamah Moahib, joined us, and did gal- 
lantly. Ferhan, Motlog's son, brought with him the Allayda, 
and with the other Fejr they took Teyma and Kheybar from their 
Turkish garrisons, and handed them over to King Hussein. 

Later the Shammar joined us, and volunteers came from 
Kasim, from Aneyza, Boreyda and Euss to help the common 
war upon the Turks. We took Medain Salih and El Ally, and 
further north Tebuk and Maan, the Beni Sakhr country, and all 
the pilgrim road up to Damascus, making in. arms the return 
journey of that by which Doughty had begun his wanderings. 
"Arabia Deserta," which had been a joy to read, as a great 
record of adventure and travel (perhaps the greatest in our 
language), and the great picture-book of nomad life, became 
a military text-book, and helped to guide us to victory in the 
East. The Arabs who had allowed Doughty to wander in their 
forbidden provinces were making a good investment for their 
sons and grandsons. 

In this great experience of war the focus of motive in the 
desert changed, and a political revolution came to the Arabs. 
In Doughty's day, as his book shows, there were Moslems and 
Christians, as main divisions of the people. Yesterday the dis- 
tinction faded ; there were only those on the side of the Allies, 
and those with the Central Powers. The Western Arabs, in 
these forty years, had learned enough of the ideas of Europe 
to accept nationality as a basis for action. They accepted it so 
thoroughly that they went into battle against their Caliph, the 
Sultan of Turkey, to win their right to national freedom. Keligion, 
which had been the motive and character of the desert, yielded 
to politics, and Mecca, which had been a City of worship, became 
the temporal capital of a new state. The hostility which had 
been directed against Christians became directed against the 



INTRO D UCT10N. xxxvii 

foreigner who presumed to interfere in the domestic affairs of 
Arabic-speaking provinces. 



However, this note grows too long. Those just men who begin 
at the beginning of books are being delayed by me from reading 
Doughty, and so I am making worse my presumption in putting 
my name near what I believe to be one of the great prose works 
of our literature. It is a book which begins powerfully, written 
in a style which has apparently neither father nor son, so closely 
wrought, so tense, so just in its words and phrases, that it demands 
a hard reader. It seems not to have been written easily ; but 
in a few of its pages you learn more of the Arabs than in all that 
others have written, and the further you go the closer the style 
seems to cling to the subject, and the more natural it becomes 
to your taste. 

The history of the march of the caravan down the pilgrim 
road, the picture of Zeyd's tent, the description of Ibn Kashid's 
court at Hail, the negroid village in Kheybar, the urbane life at 
Aneyza, the long march across the desert of Western Nejd to 
Mecca, each seems better than the one before till there comes the 
very climax of the book near Taif, and after this excitement a 
gentle closing chapter of the road down to Jidda, to the hospi- 
tality of Mohammed Nasif's house, and the British Consulate. 

To have accomplished such a journey would have been 
achievement enough for the ordinary man. Mr. Doughty was not 
content till he had made the book justify the journey as much as 
the journey justified the book, and in the double power, to go and 
to write, he will not soon find his rival. 

T. E. LAWEENCE. 

Oxford, 1921. 



CHAPTER I. 



THE PERAEA J AMMON AND MOAB. 

The Haj, or Mecca pilgrimage, in Damascus. The pilgrim camp in the 
wilderness at Muzeyrib. The setting forth. Hermon. The first station. The 
pilgrimage way, or Derb el-Haj. Geraza. The Ageyl. Bashan. Umm Jemdl. 
Bosra. Jabbok, or the Zerka. Shebib ibn Tubbai. Ancient strong towers in the 
desert. Punishment of a caravan thief. Aspect of the Peraean plains. The 
Beduins. Beny Sdkhr. Beny Seleyta. Welad Aly. Gilead. The Belka. 
Whether this fresh country were good for colonists ? Rabbath Ammon. Heshbon. 
Umm Rosas. The pilgrim-encampment raised by night. The brook Arnon. 
Lejtln. The high plains of Moab. Ruined sites. Bat Ras. Rabbath Moab- 
Kir Moab. " Heaps in the furrows of the field." The old giants. Agaba tribe. 
The land wasted by Israel. The ancient people were stone-builders. Kerak visited. 
Beny Hameydy tribe. Memorial heaped stones in the wilderness. Wady el- 
Hdsy. The deep limestone valleys descending to the Dead Sea. Sheykh Hajellan. 

A new voice hailed me of an old friend when, first returned 
from the Peninsula, I paced again in that long street of Damas- 
cus which is called Straight ; and suddenly taking me wondering 
by the hand " Tell me (said he), since thou art here again in the 
peace and assurance of Ullah, and whilst we walk, as in the former 
years, toward the new blossoming orchards, full of the sweet 
spring as the garden of God, what moved thee, or how couldst 
thou take such journeys into the fanatic Arabia ? " 

It was at the latest hour, when in the same day, and after 
troubled days of endeavours, I had supposed it impossible. At 
first I had asked of the W aly, Governor of Syria, his license to 
accompany the Haj caravan to the distance of Meddin Sdlih. 
The Waly then privately questioned the British Consulate, an 
office which is of much regard in these countries. The Consul 
answered, that his was no charge in any such matter ; he had as 
much regard of me, would I take such dangerous ways, as of his 
old hat. This was a man that, in time past, had proffered to 



The headpiece of this chapter represents a vine and pomegranate ornament, 
carved in relief upon a block of white marble, still lying in the ruinous wilderness 
of Moab. 

D. T. 1 



2 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

show me a good turn in my travels, who now told me it was his 
duty to take no cognisance of my Arabian journey, lest he might 
hear any word of blame, if I miscarried. Thus by the Turkish 
officers it was understood that my life, forsaken by mine own 
Consulate, would not be required of them in this adventure. 
There is a merry saying of Sir Henry Wotton, for which he 
nearly lost his credit with his Sovereign, " An ambassador is a 
man who is sent to lie abroad for his country ; " to this might be 
added, " A Consul is a man who is sent to play the Turk abroad, 
to his own countrymen." 

That untimely Turkishness was the source to me of nearly 
all the mischiefs of these travels in Arabia. And what wonder, 
none fearing a reckoning, that I should many times come nigh 
to be foully murdered ! whereas the informal benevolent word, 
in the beginning, of a Frankish Consulate might have procured 
me regard of the great Haj officers, and their letters of commend- 
ation, in departing from them, to the Emirs of Arabia. Thus 
rejected by the British Consulate, I dreaded to be turned back 
altogether if I should visit now certain great personages of 
Damascus, as the noble Algerian prince Abd el-Kdder ; for 
whose only word's sake, which I am well assured he would have 
given, I had been welcome in all the Haj -road towers occupied 
by Moorish garrisons, and my life had not been well-nigh lost 
amongst them later at Medain Salih. 

I went only to the Kurdish Pasha of the Haj, Mohammed 
Said, who two years before had known me a traveller in the 
Lands beyond Jordan, and took me for a well-affected man that 
did nothing covertly. It was a time of cholera and the Chris- 
tians had fled from the city, when I visited him formerly in 
Damascus to prefer the same request, that I might go down with 
the Pilgrimage to Medain Salih. He had recommended me 
then to bring a firman of the Sultan, saying, ' The hajjaj 
(pilgrims) were a mixed multitude, and if aught befel me, the 
harm might be laid at his door, since I was the subject of a 
foreign government : ' but now, he said, ' Well ! would I needs go 
thither ? it might be with the Jurdy : ' that is the flying provi- 
sion-train which since ancient times is sent down from Syria to 
relieve the returning pilgrimage at Medain Salih ; but commonly 
lying there only three days, the time would not have sufficed me. 

I thought the stars were so disposed that I should not go to 
Arabia ; but, said my Moslem friends, ' the Pasha himself could 
not forbid any taking this journey with the caravan ; and though 
I were a Nasrdny, what hindered ! when I went not down 
to the Harameyn (two sacred cities), but to Medain Salih ; 
how ! I an honest person might not go, when there went down 






MOSLEM FRIENDS. 



every year with the Haj all the desperate cutters of the town ; 
nay the most dangerous ribalds of Damascus were already at 
Muzeyrib, to kill and to spoil upon the skirts of the caravan 
journeying in the wilderness.' Also they said ' it was but a few 
years since Christian masons (there are no Moslems of the 
craft in Damascus) had been sent with the Haj to repair 
the water-tower or kella and cistern at the same Medain 
Salih.' 

There is every year a new stirring of this goodly Oriental 
city in the days before the Haj ; so many strangers are passing 
in the bazaars, of outlandish speech and clothing from far 
provinces. The more part are of Asia Minor, many of them 
bearing over-great white turbans that might weigh more than 
their heads : the most are poor folk of a solemn countenance, 
which wander in the streets seeking the bakers' stalls, and I saw 
that many of the Damascenes could answer them in their 
own language. The town is moved in the departure of the 
great Pilgrimage of the Keligion and agaiu at the home-coming, 
which is made a public spectacle ; almost every Moslem house- 
hold has some one of their kindred in the caravan. In the 
markets there is much taking up in haste of wares for the 
road. The tent-makers are most busy in their street, over- 
looking and renewing the old canvas of hundreds of tents, 
of tilts and the curtains for litters ; the curriers in their bazaar 
are selling apace the water-skins and leathern buckets and 
saddle-bottles, matara or zemzemieh ; the carpenters' craft are 
labouring in all haste for the Haj, the most of them mending 
litter-frames. In the Peraean outlying quarter, el-Meddn, is 
cheapening and delivery of , grain, a provision by the way for 
the Haj cattle. Already there come by the streets, passing 
daily forth, the akkdms with the swagging litters mounted high 
upon the tall pilgrim-camels. They are the Haj caravan drivers, 
and upon the silent great shuffle-footed beasts, they hold inso- 
lently their path through the narrow bazaars ; commonly 
ferocious young men, whose mouths are full of horrible cursings : 
and whoso is not of this stomach, him they think unmeet for 
the road. The Mukowwems or Haj camel-masters have called 
in their cattle (all are strong males) from the wilderness to 
the camel-yards in Damascus, where their serving-men are busy 
stuffing pillows under the pack-saddle frames, and lapping, 
first over all the camels' chines, thick blanket-felts of Aleppo, 
that they should not be galled ; the gear is not lifted till 
their return after four months,.. if they may return alive, from 
so great a voyage. The mukowwems are sturdy, weathered 
men of the road, that can hold the mastery over their often 

1—2 



4 TBAVELS IN ARABIA DESEBTA. 

mutinous crews ; it is written in their hard faces that they 
are overcomers of the evil by the evil, and able to deal in 
the long desert way with the perfidy of the elvish Beduins. 
It is the custom in these caravan countries that all who are 
to set forth, meet together in some common place without 
the city. The assembling of the pilgrim multitude is always 
by the lake of Muzeyrib in the high steppes beyond Jordan, 
two journeys from Damascus. Here the hajjies who have 
taken the field are encamped, and lie a week or ten days 
in the desert before their long voyage. The Haj Pasha, his 
affairs despatched with the government in Damascus, arrives 
the third day before their departure, to discharge all first 
payments to the Beduw and to agree with the water-carriers, 
(which are Beduins,) for the military service. 

The open ways of Damascus upon that side, lately encum- 
bered with the daily passage of hundreds of litters, and all 
that, to our eyes, strange and motley train, of the oriental 
pilgrimage, were again void and silent ; the Haj had departed 
from among us. A little money is caught at as great gain 
in these lands long vexed by a criminal government : the hope 
of silver immediately brought me five or six poorer persons, 
saying all with great By-Gods they would set their seals to 
a paper to carry me safely to Medain Salih, whether I would 
ride upon pack-horses, upon mules, asses, dromedaries, barely 
upon camel-back, or in a litter. I agreed with a Persian, 
mukowwem to those of his nation which come every year 
about from the East by Bagdad, Aleppo, Damascus, to " see 
the cities " ; and there they join themselves with the great 
Ottoman Haj caravan. This poor rich man was well content, 
for a few pounds in his hand which helped him to reckon with 
his corn-chandler, to convey me to Medain Salih. It was a last 
moment, the Pasha was departed two days since, and this man 
must make after with great journeys. I was presently clothed 
as a Syrian of simple fortune, and ready with store of caravan 
biscuit to ride along with him ; mingled with the Persians 
in the Haj journey I should be the less noted whether by 
Persians or Arabs. This mukowwem's servants and his gear 
were already eight days at Muzeyrib camp. 

It was afternoon when a few Arab friends bade me God- 
speed, and mounted with my camel bags upon a mule I came 
riding through Damascus with the Persian, Mohammed Aga, 
and a small company. As we turned from the long city street, 
that which in Paul's days was called " The Straight," to go up 
through the Medan to the Boabat-Ullah, some of the bystanders 
at the corner, setting upon me their eyes, said to each other, 






DEPARTURE FROM DAMASCUS. 5 

" Who is this ? Eigh ! " Another answered him half jestingly, 
"It is some one belonging to the Ajamy " (Persian). From 
the Boabat (great gate of) Ullah, so named of the passing 
forth of the holy pilgrimage thereat, the high desert lies be- 
fore us those hundreds of leagues to the Harameyn ; at first 
a waste plain of gravel and loam upon limestone, for ten 
or twelve days, and always rising, to Maan in " the moun- 
tain of Edom " near to Petra. Twenty-six marches from 
Muzeyrib is el-Medina, the prophet's city (Medinat en-Neby, 
in old time Yathrib) ; at forty marches is Mecca. There were 
none now in all the road, by which the last hajjies had passed 
five days before us. The sun setting, we came to the little out- 
lying village Kesmih : by the road was showed me a white 
cupola, the sleeping station of the commander of the pilgrimage, 
Emir el-Haj, in the evening of his solemn setting forth from 
Damascus. We came by a beaten way over the wilderness, 
paved of old at the crossing of winter stream-beds for the safe 
passage of the Haj camels, which have no foothold in sliding 
ground ; by some other are seen ruinous bridges — as all is now 
ruinous in the Ottoman Empire. There is a block drift strewed 
over this wilderness ; the like is found, much to our amazement, 
under all climates of the world. 

We had sorry night quarters at Kesmih, to lie out, with 
falling weather, in a filthy field, nor very long to repose. At 
three hours past midnight we were again riding. There were 
come along with us some few other, late and last poor foot wan- 
derers, of the Persian's acquaintance and nation ; blithely they 
addressed themselves to this sacred voyage, and as the sun began 
to spring and smile with warmth upon the earth, like awaken- 
ing birds, they began to warble the sweet bird-like Persian airs. 
Marching with most alacrity was a yellow-haired young der- 
wish, the best minstrel of them all ; with the rest of his 
breath he laughed and cracked and would hail me cheerfully in 
the best Arabic that he could. They comforted themselves by 
the way with tobacco, and there was none, said they, better in 
the whole world than this sweet leaf of their own country. 
There arose the high train of Hermon aloft before us, hoar- 
headed with the first snows and as it were a white cloud hang- 
ing in the element, but the autumn in the plain was yet light 
and warm. At twenty miles we passed before Saldmen, an old 
ruined place with towers and inhabited ruins, such as those seen 
in the Hauran : five miles further another ruined site. Some 
of my companions were imaginative of the stranger, because 
I enquired the names. We alighted first at afternoon by a cis- 
tern of foul water Keteyby, where a guard was set of two ruffian 



6 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

troopers, and when coming there very thirsty I refused to drink, 
" Oho ! who is here ? " cries one of them with an ill countenance, 
" it is I guess some Nasrany ; auh, is this one, I say, who should 
go with the Haj ? " Nine miles from thence we passed before a 
village, Meskin : faring by the way, we overtook a costard- 
monger driving his ass with swagging chests of the half-rotted 
autumn grapes, to sell his cheap wares to the poor pilgrims for 
dear money at Muzeyrib : whilst I bought of his cool bunches, 
this fellow, full of gibes of the road, had descried me and " Art 
thou going, cried he, to Mecca ? Ha ! he is not one to go with 
the Haj ! and you that come along with him, what is this for an 
na jjy ? " At foot pace we came to the camp at Muzeyrib after 
eight o'clock, by dark night ; the forced march was sixteen hours. 
We had yet to do, shouting for the Aga's people, by their 
names, to find our tents, but not much, for after the hundreds 
of years of the pilgrimage all the Haj service is well ordered. 
The mukowwems know their own places, and these voices were 
presently answered by some of his servants who led us to their 
lodging. The morrow was one of preparation, the daj after we 
should depart. The Aga counselled me not to go abroad from 
our lodging. The gun would be fired two days earlier this year 
for the pilgrims' departure, because the season was lateward. 
We had ten marches through the northern highlands, and the 
first rains might fall upon us ere we descended to Arabia : 
in this soil mixed with loam the loaded camels slide, in rainy 
weather, and cannot safely pass. There was a great stillness in 
all their camp ; these were the last hours of repose. As it was 
night there came the waits, of young camp-followers with links ; 
who saluting every pavilion were last at the Persians' lodgings, 
(their place, as they are strangers and schismatics, doubtless for 
the avoiding of strifes, is appointed in the rear of all the great 
caravan) with the refrain bes-salaamy bes-salaamy, Ullah yetow- 
wel ummr-hu, hy el-ddy, hy el-ddy, Mohammed Aga! " go in 
peace, good speed, heigho the largess ! We keep this custom, 
the Lord give long life to him ; " and the Persian, who durst not 
break the usage, found his penny with a sorry countenance. 

The new dawn appearing we removed not yet. The day 
risen the tents were dismantled, the camels led in ready to 
their companies, and halted beside their loads. We waited to 
hear the cannon shot which should open that year's pilgrimage. 
It was near ten o'clock when we heard the signal gun fired, 
and then, without any disorder, litters were suddenly heaved 
and braced upon the bearing beasts, their charges laid upon 
the kneeling camels, and the thousands of riders, all born in 
the caravan countries, mounted in silence. As all is up the 



THE SETTING OUT OF THE PILGRIM CARAVAN. 7 

drivers are left standing upon their feet, or sit to rest out the 
latest moments on their heels : they with other camp and tent 
servants must ride those three hundred leagues upon their 
bare soles, although they faint ; and are to measure the ground 
again upward with their weary feet from the holy places. At 
the second gun, fired a few moments after, the Pasha's litter 
advances and after him goes the head of the caravan column : 
other fifteen or twenty minutes we, who have places in the 
rear, must halt, that is until the long train is unfolded before 
us ; then we strike our camels and the great pilgrimage is 
moving. There go commonly three or four camels abreast 
and seldom five : the length of the slow-footed multitude of 
men and cattle is near two miles, and the width some hundred 
yards in the open plains. The hajjaj were this year by their 
account (which may be above the truth) 6000 persons ; of these 
more than half are serving men on foot ; and 10,000 of all 
kinds of cattle, the most camels, then mules, hackneys, asses 
and a few dromedaries of Arabians returning in security of the 
great convoy to their own districts. We march in an 
empty waste, a plain of gravel, where nothing appeared and 
never a road before us. Hermon, now to the backward, with his 
mighty shoulders of snows closes the northern horizon ; to the 
nomads of the East a noble landmark of Syria, they name it 
Towil eth-Thalj ' the height of snow ' (of which they have small 
experience in the rainless sunstricken land of Arabia). It was 
a Sunday, when this pilgrimage began, and holiday weather, 
the summer azure light was not all faded from the Syrian 
heaven ; the 18th of November 1876 ; and after twelve miles 
way, (a little, which seemed long in the beginning,) we came to 
the second desert station, where the tents which we had left 
behind us at Muzeyrib, stood already pitched in white ranks 
before us in the open wilderness. Thus every day the light 
tent-servants' train outwent our heavy march, in which, as every 
company has obtained their place from the first remove, this 
they observe continually until their journey's end. Arriving 
we ride apart, every company to their proper lodgings : this 
encampment is named Ramta. 

It is their caravan prudence, that in the beginning of a 
long way, the first shall be a short journey ; the beasts feel their 
burdens, the passengers have fallen in that to their riding in the 
field. Of a few sticks (gathered hastily by the way), of the 
desert bushes, cooking fires are soon kindled before all the tents ; 
and since here are no stones at hand to set under the pots as 
Beduins use, the pilgrim hearth is a scraped out hole, so that 
their vessels may stand, with the brands put under, upon the 



8 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

two brinks, and with very little fuel they make ready their poor 
messes. The small military tents of the Haj escort of troopers 
and armed dromedary riders, Ageyl, (the most Nejd men), are 
pitched round about the great caravan encampment, at sixty 
and sixty paces : in each tent fellowship the watches are kept 
till the day dawning. A paper lantern after sunset is hung 
before every one to burn all night, where a sentinel stands with 
his musket, and they suffer none to pass their lines unchal- 
lenged. Great is all townsmen's dread of the Beduw, as if they 
were the demons of this wild waste earth, every ready to assail 
the Haj passengers ; and there is no Beduwy durst chop logic 
in the dark with these often ferocious shooters, that might 
answer him with lead and who are heard from time to time, 
firing backward into the desert all night ; and at every instant 
crying down the line kerako kerako (sentinel !) the next and the 
next men thereto answering with haderun (ready). I saw not 
that any officer went the rounds. So busy is the first watch, 
whilst the camp is waking. These crickets begin to lose their 
voices about midnight, when for aught I could see the most of 
their lights were out ; and it is likely the unpaid men spare 
their allowance : those poor soldiers sell their candles privily 
in the Haj market. 

In the first evening hour there is some merrymake of 
drum-beating and soft fluting, and Arcadian sweetness of the 
Persians singing in the tents about us ; in others they chant 
together some piece of their devotion. In all the pilgrims* 
lodgings are paper lanterns with candles burning ; but the camp 
is weary and all is soon at rest. The hajjies lie down in their 
clothes the few night hours till the morrow gun-fire ; then to 
rise suddenly for the march, and not knowing how early they 
may hear it, but this is as the rest, after the Pasha's good 
pleasure and the weather. 

At half past five o'clock was the warning shot for the second 
journey. The night sky was dark and showery when we re- 
moved, and cressets of iron cages set upon poles were borne to 
light the way, upon serving men's shoulders, in all the com- 
panies. The dawn discovered the same barren upland before 
us, of shallow gravel and clay ground upon limestone. 

The Derb el-Haj is no made road, but here a multitude of 
cattle-paths beaten hollow by the camels' tread, in the marching 
thus once in the year, of so many generations of the motley 
pilgrimage over this waste. Such many equal paths lying 
together one of the ancient Arabian poets has compared to the 
bars of the rayed Arabic mantle. Commonly a shot is heard 
near mid-day, the signal to halt ; we have then a short resting- 



WATEB BY THE WAY. 9 

while, but the beasts are not unloaded and remain standing. 
Men alight and the more devout bow down their faces to say 
the canonical prayer towards Mecca. Our halt is twenty minutes ; 
some days it is less or even omitted, as the Pasha has deemed 
expedient, and in easy marches may be lengthened to forty 
minutes. " The Pasha (say the caravaners) is our Sooltdn." 
Having marched twenty miles at our left hand appeared Mafrak, 
the second Haj road tower, after the great kella at Muzeyrib, 
but it is ruinous and as are some other towers abandoned. The 
kellas are fortified water stations weakly garrisoned ; they may 
have been built two or three centuries, and are of good masonry. 
The well is in the midst of a kella ; the water, raised by a 
simple machine of drum and buckets, whose shaft is turned by 
a mule's labour, flows forth to fill a cistern or birket without the 
walls. Gear and mules must be fetched down with the Haj 
from Damascus upon all the desert road, to Medain Salih. 
The cisterns are jealously guarded ; as in them is the life of the 
great caravan. No Aarab (nomads) are suffered to draw of that 
water ; the garrisons would shoot out upon them from the 
tower, in which, closed with an iron-plated door, they are 
sheltered themselves all the year from the insolence of the 
nomads. The kellas stand alone, as it were ships, in the im- 
mensity of the desert ; they are not built at distances of camps, 
but according to the opportunity of water ; it is more often 
two or even three marches between them. The most difficult 
passage of the pilgrim road before Medina, is that four or five 
marches in high ground next above Medain Salih ; where are 
neither wells nor springs, but two ruined kellas with their great 
birkets to be filled only by torrent water, so that some years, 
in a nearly rainless country, they lie dry. A nejjab or post, 
who is a Beduin dromedary-rider, is therefore sent up every 
year from Medain Salih, bringing word to Damascus, in rama- 
than before the pilgrimage, whether there be water run in the 
birket at Bar el-Hamra, and reporting likewise of the state of 
the next waters. This year he was a messenger of good tidings, 
(showers and freshets in the mountains had filled the birket) 
and returned with the Pasha's commandment in his mouth, 
(since in the garrisons there are few or none lettered) to set a 
guard over the water. But in years when the birket is empty, 
some 1500 girbies are taken up in Damascus by the Haj ad- 
ministration, to furnish a public supplement of five days water 
for all the caravan : these water-skins are loaded betwixt the 
distant waterings, at the government cost, by Beduin carriers. 

The caravaners pass the ruined and abandoned kellas with 
curses between their teeth, which they cast, I know not how justly, 



io TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

at the Haj officers and say " all the birkets leak and there is no 
water for the hajjaj ; every year there is money paid out of the 
treasury that should be for the maintenance of the buildings ; 
these embezzling pashas swallow the public silver ; we may 
hardly draw now of any cistern before Maan, but after the 
long marches must send far to seek it, and that we may find is 
not good to drink." Turkish peculation is notorious in all the 
Haj service, which somewhat to abate certain Greek Christians, 
Syrians, are always bursars in Damascus of the great Moham- 
medan pilgrimage : — this is the law of the road, that all look 
through their fingers. The decay of the road is also, because 
much less of the public treasure is now spent for the Haj 
service. The impoverished Ottoman government has with- 
drawn the not long established camp at Maan, and greatly 
diminished the kella allowances ; but the yearly cost of the Haj 
road is said to be yet £50,000, levied from the province of Syria, 
where the Christians cry out, it is tyranny that they too 
must pay from their slender purses, for this seeking hallows of 
the Moslemin. A yearly loss to the empire is the surra or 
" bundles of money " to buy a peaceful passage of the abhorred 
Beduins : the half part of Western Arabia is fed thereby, and 
yet it were of more cost, for the military escort, to pass " by 
the sword." The destitute Beduins will abate nothing of their 
yearly pension ; that which was paid to their fathers, they 
believe should be always due to them out of the treasures 
of the ' Sooltan,' and if any less be proffered them they 
would say " The unfaithful pashas have devoured it ! " the 
pilgrimage should not pass, and none might persuade them, 
although the Dowla (Sultan's Empire) were perishing. It 
were news to them that the Sultan of Islam is but a Turk 
and of strange blood : they take him to be as the personage of 
a prophet, king of the world by the divine will, unto whom 
all owe obedience. Malcontent, as has been often seen, they 
would assault the Haj march or set upon some corner of the 
camp by night, hoping to drive oft a booty of camels : in 
warfare they beset the strait places, where the firing down of 
a hundred beggarly matchlocks upon the thick multitude must 
cost many lives ; so an Egyptian army of Ibrahim Pasha was 
defeated in the south country by Harb Beduins. 

Few hours westward of our march is Geraza, now Jerash, 
where I had seen formerly stupendous Koman ruins ; and for 
Mohammedans there is a grave of their prophet Hud, who lies 
buried in more places of Arabia. By five in the afternoon, 
having journeyed thirty miles, we had sight again of our white 
encampment pitched before us. The Haj alighting, there come 



THE AGEYL. n 

riding in from the horizon, with beating of tambours, the Saydl 
troopers, our rear guard, and after them the squadron of Ageyl, 
which follow the Haj caravan at two miles distance, and wheel- 
ing they go to alight all round our ranges in the military tents. 
Also troopers march at the head of the caravan, with the Pasha 
and two field pieces borne upon mules' backs ; other few, and 
sorry looking men they are, ride without keeping any order by 
the long flanks of the advancing column. The Ageyl are 
Arabians from the midst of the Peninsula, mostly Kasim men 
of the caravan towns and villages Boreyda, Aneyzy, el-Ayun, 
>el-Bukkaria, el-Khubbera, er-Russ. These, with all strangers, 
cameleers of their nation, trafficking in Mesopotamia and in 
Syria, are called there the Ageyl and by the Beduins el- 
Ageyldt. There are 150 dromedary riders, Ageyl, armed with 
matchlocks, appointed to the Haj service ; bred up in land 
of nomads they boast themselves most able of all men to deal 
with the landloping Beduins. There is an elected sheykh 
of the Syrian Ageyl at Damascus, through whom they treat 
with the government ; he was in my time Sleyman abu Daud, a 
worthy man of Aneyzy family and had succeeded one lately 
deposed, of Boreyda : both were camel brokers in the Syrian 
city. The dromedary troop ride commonly singing some 
ribaldry in contempt of the Beduins, whom as oasis dwellers 
they hate naturally. Arabs of the blood, they are lean lithe 
bodies of swarthy and sorry aspect, unlike the broad white 
faces and sleek persons of Damascus citizens. The Damascenes 
hold them for little better than Beduw, they also accounting 
all the Nejd country people of the .purer Arabian speech, and 
rightly, Beduins ; so the great Emir Ibn Rashid and the 
Wahaby prince they say are " Beduins." These Arabian oasis 
men are mistrusted, for their foreign looks, by the inhabitants 
of cities : so on the road they say " Woe to the hajjy that 
fainting or lingering falls into the hands of the Ageyl ! Ouff ! 
they will cut his purse and his wezand ! " Friends dissuaded 
me when at first I thought to have ridden with them, saying 
they would murder me when we were out of sight of Muzeyrib. 
I have since known many of them, all worthy men ; they are 
the Arabians that I have later visited in Nejd. The Arabs are 
always of a factious humour, and every condition will thus 
hardly accuse other. 

In the spring of the year before, I had months long wandered 
through this country beyond Jordan and the Dead Sea. From 
hence to the eastward are the plains of Bashan, and a great 
antique city of basalt, her walls and roofs yet remaining, but 
since centuries not inhabited, Umm Jemdl (in Jeremiah Beth 











J 




P 









12 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A, 

Gamul) chief of many such basalt cities, now standing wide- 
from the inhabited land. In them all I saw churches with the 
cross and Greek inscriptions, and read upon a lintel in the 
tower of one of them, in this town without inhabitant, (the 
letter-pits yet stained with vermilion,) [EN T]8TU) + NIKAS 
BOHOI^words of Constantine's vision. The narrow streets- 
and courts of Umm Jemal are choked with great weeds, more 
than the wild growth of the desert. Here are chambers and 
towers, vaults and cellars ; the house doors, clean wrought flags 
of basalt, yet roll heavily in their sockets of basalt, and ring if 
you strike them as bells of an high tone. The ceiled chambers 
are stonehenges ; the stone rafters not of length to ride upon 
the walls, you see them thus composed (fig. infra). The basalt 
metal is eternal and the building 
of great stones fairly laid, is " for 
short time an endless monument," 
confirmed by its own weight. 
Those plains now wilderness are 
basalt, whereupon lies too shallow 
earth for growth of timber ; the 
people of Bashan had this lava by 
them, which would yield to be riven in balks and flags ; and 
it would cost them less than camel-borne trees which they 
must have bought in Gilead. 

Wide are the antique burying grounds of these dead cities,, 
the headstones standing of indestructible basalt ; the " old 
desolate places " are not heaps and ruins, but carcases which 
might return to be inhabited under a better government : per- 
haps thus outlying they were forsaken in the Mohammedan 
decay of Syria, for the fear of the Beduins. There are some 
of them in part reoccupied, as the Metropolis Bosra, full of great 
old Komish and Christian buildings. 

On the morrow we set forward at the same hour ; after ten 
miles we rode by a column or tall milestone : all such are tokens 
of an ancient road. At the wayside stands a dead village of stone 
building, such as those in the Hauran. This journey was short ; 
little after noon we came in sight of our city of tents, whitened 
in the sun : from the wady brow I could overlook this Haj en- 
campment, pitched in lower ground, as a military field measured 
by the camp marshal. Their good order has grown up through 
long generations, the tent rows and great pavilions standing 
always in the same places : their number seemed to me about 
two hundred. In each of them with the serving men might be 
fifteen or twenty persons, many besides are the smaller tents. 
We were here at the watering Zerka, the Biblical Jabbok, a 



"THE RIVER JABBOK." 13 

border of the children of Ammon in Moses' days. The caravan 
plashed through the rocky brook, running down towards the 
Jordan ; westward, that slender water of the desert is increased 
by springs : I have waded in June at a ford some hours lower, 
when the tepid water reached to our girdles. 

A gunshot from the road stands a great old tower, Kellat ez- 
Zerka. This stronghold in the wilderness is, by the tradition, 
from the times before Mohammed ; the building is massy and 
not ruined. This is none of the Haj road forts, and is now 
seldom a night lodging of passengers or nomads and shelter for 
the Beduin folds. Here says the tradition was the residence of 
an ancient hero, Shebib ibn Tubbai ; and from hence, one behind 
other, is a chain of such antique fortresses and watch-towers in 
the wilderness to Shobek, nearly an hundred miles southward in 
Edom : at my former passing, in these deserts, I had seen some 
of them. Ibn Tubbai was Sultan of the land from below Maan, 
as they tell, unto mount Hermon. Two days from hence, south 
and west of the Derb el-Haj, I had passed an antique fortress in 
the desert side, which is also very considerable. " A Kasr 
(castle) of the old Yahud " (Jews,) answered the Beny Sokhr 
nomad who conveyed me on his thelul (dromedary) ; he called 
it Guwah or Kasr es-Shebib, and of a santon whose makam 
(sacred place of sepulture) is seen thereby, Sheykh Besir. Sick 
I was then of long dieting with the Beduins ; if I alighted 
I could not easily have remounted, and as I entered the door, 
the fellow might forsake me, which he did the next day indeed. 
One told me who had been long in the road service at Maan, that 
better than all these is a tower he had seen two days south-east- 
ward from the Kellat Belka, whither for some danger, his 
Beduin company had led him far about, as he went to Maan. 
Said he "It is a serai, a very palace, and fresh (under this 
climate) as the building of yesterday ; " he was there by night 
and could not tell me if there were any engraved inscriptions. 
Was it a residence of some Ghrassanite prince ? Other lesser 
towers, which I passed not much below Kasr Besir, were called 
by my companion Mughraz and Risshdn; more I have seen, 
appearing as watch-towers upon an high ridge towards Kerak. 
It is mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures of King Uzziah, who 
had much cattle, that he built towers and hewed cisterns in the 
desert ; such cisterns I have found in the wilderness of Hebron 
shelving to the Dead Sea. The tower was always the hope of 
this insecure Semitic world, so that Jehovah is lauded as 
" a Tower of Salvation, a strong tower from the enemy, a strong 
tower is His name." As for this antique name Ibn Tubbai, 
there is yet as I hear a small ancient nomad tribe, at the 



i 4 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

east part of the lake of Tiberias, El-Klib or Kleb, whose 
sheykh's family name is Ibn et-Tubbai. 

I was startled, where I reposed in my little travelling tent, 
by wailing cries and a rumour from the Persians' pavilion : 
in such a mukowwem's great canvas lodging might well assem- 
ble an hundred persons. In the midst is a square settle, which 
is carried in pieces, whereupon three personages may be seated 
cross-legged ; and housed within is all his gear and two camel 
litters. There entering, I was witness of a sorrowful execution. 
I took by the elbow one of this throng of grave faces, to know 
what was going forward. He whispered, " An haramy " (thief). 
The accused was put to the torture — but if the wretch were 
innocent, for his health broken what god or human afterthought 
might make him amends ! — Terrible in this silence sounded the 
handstrokes and his mortal groans. I asked again " Why is he 
beaten so ? " Answer. " Until he will confess where it is 
hidden, the cursed one ! " — " And if they beat on thus he will be 
dead ! " Answer. " Except he confess, they will leave no life 
in him." As I went through them, I heard that already four 
stout fellows had wearied their arms over him, and the fifth 
was now in the beginning of his strength. With an earnest 
countenance, he heaved in his two hands a tough plant and 
fetched down every stroke upon him with all his might. This 
malefactor was laid prone, men held down his legs, some 
kneeled upon his two shoulders and kneaded him, without 
pity. The writhing worm and no man, after the first cries drawn 
from him, now in a long anguish groaned hideously ; I thought^ 
within a while he must be beaten in pieces and is already 
a broken man for his life after. It was perilous for me to tempt 
so many strangers' eyes, but as humanity required, I called to 
them, " Sirs I am an hakim ; this man may not bear more, hold 
or he may die under yOur handling ! " — words which, besides- 
their looking upon the speaker, were not regarded. Soon after 
I saw the grovelling wretch lifted from the earth, he had 
confessed his fault ; some then bearing up under his arms and 
all men cursing him, he walked as he could and was led forth. 
(Of that lying down to be beaten before the judge's face we read 
in Moses.) This was an Arab caravan servant of Bagdad and 
greyheaded : bursting a lock he had stolen the purse with £40 
of his Persian master, a foolish young man, and hid it beside 
their tent in the earth. 

This power of execution is with the chiefs of the pilgrim 
companies, and they repress the most dangerous spirits in the 
caravan : man}' among the haj servants are lurkers from justice 
and from the military conscription. " Khalil Effendi " (said the 



PUNISHMENT OF A CABAVAN THIEF. 15 

Persian when he found me alone) " what is this meddling with 
the man's punishment ? wouldest thou to Medain Salih, or no ? 
This may be told to-morrow in the ears of the Pasha ; then 
they will know you, and you will be turned back. Come no 
more forth in the public view." But as an European I trod 
every day upon the mesquin oriental prudence ; in camp he 
would have me remain in my little tent separately. It is 
perilous in the Haj to lodge alone at night, and I hired one of 
the drivers, to cook my supper and set up the tent when we 
alighted and at night to sleep by me. 

The morrow was lowering and autumn showers delayed 
us : it was two hours before mid-day when we heard the signal 
shot to remove. The sun again shone forth cheerfully to dry 
our wet coverlets and clothing ; we passed by an open limestone 
country, here with many crooked trees, much like oaks, but 
their leaf is ash-like ; the cooks and servants and every poor 
man running, began to rend down and hew and make booty of 
dry branches, and the Haj passing year by year it is a wonder 
there should anything remain of them. I rode openly in the 
caravan with my bags upon camel-back, and mused how I should 
measure the way — by camels' paces ? but I found some camels 
will step 50 and some 60 times in a minute, also the brute's 
step is not at all hours alike. The Haj caravan hour I esteem 
to be hardly above 2J miles. Afterward when even my watch 
failed, I have computed distances in Arabia by camel journeys ; 
nor is this manner so rude that the situation of any place in 
so vast a country, may not be found by diligent cross reckoning, 
with the largest error, I suppose, of thirty miles. 

Beduins_in these highlands are the Beny Sokhr, a strong 
tribe andjately formidable, having many horsemen ; so that 
none durst pass these downs, unless by night time or riding 
in strong companies. Their intolerable Beduin insolence was 
checked by a military expedition under the same Mohammed 
Said now pasha-guardian of the pilgrimage, a valiant and 
victorious captain, exercised in this manner of civil warfare 
from his youth. The Aarab easily discouraged, whose most 
strength is ever in their tongues, and none leading them, 
were broken, and the Pasha mulcted them of horses and cattle. 
The B. Sokhr being thus submitted to the Dowla, promised 
for themselves to plough the land as the fellahin. Those tribes- 
men are now the principal Beduin Haj carriers, from the north 
down even to Mecca ; they are dispraised by their nomad 
neighbours. Aarab of the borders, there is in them a double 
corruption, of the settled land and the wilderness : other 
Beduins speak of them a word in hatred, which is not to be 



1 6 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

believed to the letter. " Wellah (by God) the Sokhur will cut 
the throat of a guest in the tent." To violate the guest, " the 
guest of Ullah," in the religion of the desert, is the great 
offence. Clients of the Beny Sokhr and partakers of their 
country, are the Beny Seleyta : this weak nomad tribe are 
a poor sort of people whom I have heard named treacherous ; 
they pitch separately, (and, as the Beduins, after their kinships,) 
in the same camp. I heard there are no marriages betweenThem. 

When the Sokhry, he of Shebib's tower, abandoned me at 
their sheykh's tent I found them kind : my complaint heard, the 
sheykh vaulted with the long lance upon his mare, which stood 
bound by the tent-side, and calling other two horsemen to 
follow him, they parted at a gallop ; but not finding the traitor, 
the Beduin cavaliers returned after an hour, when they had 
well breathed their mares, saying * that such had been the will of 
Ullah ! ' Killing a sheep, he made the guest-supper at sunset 
and entertained me with a noble hospitality and gentleness. The 
morning being come as they were about to remove, he sent 
me forward mounted on his own thelul, with a black servant 
to the sheykh of B. Sokhr ; but there I fared not so well. 
When we arrived at his great booth, newly pitched and solitary 
near the sculptured ruins Umm Shetta or Meshetta (also the 
name of a fendy of the northern Welad Aly), we found none 
but women ; I saw two serpents slain in their tents' new ground, 
they brought me milk and I sat down to await my adventure. 
The sheykh Effendy el-Fdiz came first at afternoon ; he asked 
them if I had eaten aught there. Then notwithstanding the 
milk, he coveted a ransom, and began to threaten me ; at last 
he said, if I would give him a present I might depart in peace. 
I answered, " Let him give me another, his mare : " he bade 
one lead his mare round and he would give her, but I con- 
demned the jade, saying " I would not receive his old hackney 
at a gift." The company that came with him, as elvish Arabs 
laughed out, and seeing himself mocked this bell-wether found 
no better counsel than to let me go. His dealing so with 
a guest would certainly have been condemned as a cur's deed 
by all Beduw. But strangely it is told that he himself is but 
an incomer of the Arabs about Gaza (which are Howeytdt) : 
whereas in the right Arabian tribes the sheykh can be none 
other than chief among the elders of the noble blood of their 
patriarch. I saw in other B. Sokhr tents the goodly beduish 
hospitality. 

The Welad Aly, of Annezy, are eastward, and their dim 
(nomad circuit) marches upon the Hauran. It is a half tribe 
grown strong in the north, the rest of them remain in their 



THE LAND OF GILEAD. 17 

ancient seats between Medina and Medain Salih. Even the 
Sokhur were of old Southern Arabs, and their ancient dira was 
by the same Medain Salih, where it is fabled of them they are 
the offspring of those sandstone rocks (sokhr). These Peraean 
Beduw are more easy in their religion than the Wahabish 
tribesmen of Arabia ; they make little account of pattering the 
daily formal prayers, nor do they rightly know them. The 
women are not veiled, they mark their faces with some blue 
lines and spots, which I have not seen in Arabia Proper, and 
bind their doubled locks, combed upon their foreheads, with a 
fillet. The Aarab have no religious elders dwelling in their 
miserable encampments, nor have any of them learned letters : 
who then should teach the Beduw their religion ? Yet this was 
sometime endeavoured in Arabia under the old Wahaby. The 
Welad Aly are rich in cattle, they and their great sheykh 
Mohammed ed-Dugy, are principal purveyors of the great haj 

camels. 

Westward towards Jordan lies Gilead, a land of noble aspect 
in these bald countries. How fresh to the sight and sweet to 
every sense are those woodland limestone hills, full of the balm- 
smelling pines and the tree-laurel sounding with the sobbing 
sweetness and the amorous wings of doves ! in all paths are 
blissful fountains ; the valley heads flow down healing to the 
eyes with veins of purest water. In that laurel-wold country 
are village ruins, and some yet inhabited. There the settler 
hews and burns forest as it were in some far woods of the New 
World : the few people are uncivil and brutish, not subject to 
any government. — We came this day's march, riding twelve 
miles, by the ruined Kella Bldt, where is seen some broken 
conduit ; soon after we entered our encampment. 

These high limestone downs and open plains of Ammon and 
Moab, Beuben, Gad and Manasseh, are the Belka of the nomads, 
as much as to say Pied land : highlands of a fresh climate, where 
all kinds of corn may be grown to plentiful harvests without 
dressing or irrigation. The shallower grounds, we may read in 
the Hebrew Scriptures, were at all times pastoral, " a good land 
for cattle." This is Shem (or Sham) the goodly North Country, 
where are waters fleeting above the ground : yet the camels are 
much vexed there with flies and, as the Beduins complain, man- 
kind with fleas, in the many summer months. It may be known 
by the ruins, that the land was anciently inhabited in towns, 
hamlets and villages, rudely built, in the expedite Semitic wise. 
In none of them have I seen any inscriptions. 

" The desert " (says the Hebrew prophet) " shall become a 
plough-land," so might all this good soil, whose " sun is gone 
d. t. 2 



1 8 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

down whilst it was yet day," return to be full of busy human 
lives ; there lacks but the defence of a strong government. One 
of the Damascene traders in the caravan said to me, " Seeing 
that the Turks (which devour all and repair nothing) leave such 
a fresh country in ruins, might not some of your ingenious 
people of Frankistan lay an iron- way hither ? " Some in Europe 
have imagined that Frankish colonies might thrive here, and 
there is in sooth breadth of good soil to be occupied. But 
perchance the event should not be happy, the laborious first 
generation languishing, and those born of them in the land becom- 
ing little unlike Arabs. Who is there can wade through Jose- 
phus's story of these countries without dismay of heart ! Were 
not the sending of such colonists to Syria, as the giving of poor 
men beds to lie on, in which other had died of the pestilence ? 

Not distant from hence are proud Greekish ruins of Phila- 
delphia, now Amman, anciently Rabbath (the metropolis of) 
Ammon ; the place, in a small open valley ground, I found 
to be less than the site of some very, inconsiderable English 
town. A Koman bridge, of one great span, rides the river, 
which flows from a mighty spring head, little above, of luke- 
warm water. " Why gloriest thou (says Jeremy) in thy 
valleys, thy flowing valley ? " The kingdom of Ammon was 
as one of our counties ; hardly threescore small townships 
and villages. A few miles southward I found in some corn- 
fields, which are tilled from the near-lying es-Salt, a sumptuous 
mausoleum (el-Kasr) of white crystalline limestone blocks ; 
within are ranged sarcophagi of the same marble and little 
less than that great bed of Og which lay at the next town. 
Such monuments of old civil glory are now an astonishment to 
our eyes in a land of desolation and of these squalid Arabs. 

We removed not before day, passing in the same open 
country of loam upon limestone ; a wilderness which ploughed 
might yield corn abundantly. Not far from hence is Hesban, 
where I have seen but some platform and groundwall, as it 
might be of a kella upon a rising ground, which is taken for 
ruins of Heshbon of the Bible, Sihon's city. There beside 
is a torrent-bed and pits, no more those fish pools as the eyes 
of love, cisterns of the doves of Heshbon, but cattle ponds 
of noisome standing water. Lower is Umm Rosas, a rude 
stone-built walled town in ruins : a mile before the place 
stands a quaint tower of fair masonry, which may be seen to 
lean from the plumb-line, and is adorned with many crosses, 
by old Christian builders. The city walls and bastions, almost 
fathom thick, are laid of the wild limestone blocks without 
mortar, the midst filled in with rubbish. I saw the ruined 






GUN-FIRE: THE GREAT CARAVAN RISING. 19 

town fallen down in heaps, an horrid confusion, where-among 
are straddling ogival arches, of their inner house walling yet on 
foot, and in the manner of their house-building now at Kerak. — 
Bright was the sky and the air, as we journeyed in the autumn 
sun ; at the mid-afternoon we passed Khan ez-Zeyt where are 
arches of an aqueduct. Not much further, after twenty-six 
miles, we came to our encampment, in a bottom, beside the 
lately repaired Kellat el-Belka, being here nearly due east of 
Jerusalem, beyond the Dead Sea ; the land altitude is 2870 ft. 

We were to depart betimes by the morrow, some enquiring of 
the hour ; "At the cannon's word," answered a laughing Damas- 
cene of the Haj service. That shot is eloquent in the desert night, 
the great caravan rising at the instant, with sudden untimely 
hubbub of the pilgrim thousands ; there is a short struggle 
of making ready, a calling and running with lanterns, confused 
roaring and ruckling of camels, and the tents are taken up 
over our heads. In this haste aught left behind will be lost, 
all is but a short moment and the pilgrim army is remounted. 
The gun fired at four hours after midnight startled many 
wayworn bodies ; and often there are some so weary, of those 
come on foot from very great distances, that they may not 
waken, and the caravan removing they are left behind in the 
darkness. Hot tea, ready in glasses, is served with much 
sugar, in the Persian lodgings, also the slave will put fire in 
their nargilies (water-pipes) which they may " drink," holding 
them in their hands, as they ride forward. Hajjies on horse- 
back may linger yet a moment, and overtake the slow-footed 
train of camels. There are public coffee sellers which, a little 
advanced on the road, cry from their fires to the passengers, 
Yellah ! Yellah ! Yellah ! yesully aly Mohammed, Ullah karim, 
which is " Come on, the Lord bless Mohammed, the Lord is 
bountiful." So in all things the Semites will proffer God's 
name whether for good or for evil. They pour their boiling 
pennyworths to any that, on foot, can stand a moment to 
drink and comfort the heart, in the cold night towards morning. 
Some other sell Damascus flat-bread and dried raisins by the 
way side : they are poor Syrians who have found this hard 
shift to win a little every year, following the pilgrimage with 
small wares upon an ass or a camel, for a certain distance, 
to|the last Syrian station Maan, or even through the main 
deserts, where afterward they sell dates, to Medina and Mecca. 
The camels seem to breathe forth smoke in the chill morning of 
these highlands, clouds of dust are driven upon our backs 
in the northern wind, and benighted, it seems many hours 
till the day-spring with the sunbeams that shall warm us. 



20 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

But the day was rainy, the pilgrims' bedding, commonly a 
cotton quilt, in such a march is wetted through ; yet the 
present evils cannot last and each moment we are nearer to the 
sun of to-morrow. We journeyed almost forty miles to our 
encampment, in a sandy place by the Kella Katrdn, where 
we drank at the cistern a sweet rain water. We pass in this 
march by the dry Wady Mojeb, which is lower the brook 
Arnon. Westward from hence is a four-square limestone-built 
walled town in ruins, Lejun, and such as Umm Kosas, the 
wall and corner towers of dry block building, at the midst of 
every wall a gate. Among these ruins I saw many round 
arches, turned without mortar : the ruins, as in the former 
town, are within and without the walls. A little apart to 
the southward I saw a square platform of masonry, with de- 
grees all round, as it were a suggestum or concionis locus. Is 
Lejun perchance Legio ? see we here a Koman military station, 
stativa ? Months before, when I came riding hither in an even- 
tide from Kerak, Beduin booths were pitched in the waste 
without the walls ; the sun was setting and the camels wan- 
dered in of themselves over the desert, the housewives at the 
tents milked their small cattle. By the ruins of a city of stone 
they received me, in the eternity of the poor nomad tents, with 
a kind hospitality. 

We removed again at five in the morning. These are the 
plains of Moab : not far, at our right hand, is Jebel Kerak, 
high wilderness plains, in which are more ruined sites of hamlets 
and townships than the Arabs can well number. In the former 
year, besides the ruins of Babbath Moab, I had visited in two 
days riding near two score of them. Why should these countries 
remain almost unknown ! might not a summer suffice to search 
them through ? Nigh the pilgrim road are the ruined towns 
Nikkei and Ensheynish : a little nearer Kerak I visited Mehai> 
a double rising ground encumbered with wild ruins : there I 
heard might be seen an effigy, some columns and inscriptions ; 
but of all this I found nothing, and languishing with famine I 
could not climb on through these fallen desolations of stones. 
Mehai was a wide uplandish place without any curiosity of 
building, but all is dry-laid masonry of the undressed limestone 
and the great tabular flint blocks of these plains. I came in 
half an hour from thence to Medeybia, a smaller ruined town, 
the building and the walls of wild massy blocks of lava ; for the 
basalt here has broken up and flowed through the limestones of 
the Belka. Of such vulcanic breaches there are many in these 
limestone downs and in Edom, and more than all in the Jordan 
and Dead Sea valley and that wide hollow land to the gulf of 



DAT RAS. 21 

Akaba. As I was riding towards Kerak, I espied a multitude 
of pasturing camels ; my companion told me then, they were 
of a tribe come hither from Ibn Bashid's country : not unlikely 
the Fukara, in migration, with whom I afterward dwelt about 
Medain Salih. South of Kerak, above the W. el-Hdsy, are certain 
principal ruins, named by the Arabs, Bat Has. There I found two 
antique buildings, they are of just masonry and the stone is white 
crystalline limestone or marble, as in the (Greekish) mausoleum 
near Kabbath Ammon ; (the Belka chalk is changed by the 
vulcanic heat, at the eruptions of basalt). The first, four-square, 
might seem some small temple or imperial building : at the 
sides of the door in the massy frontispiece are niches as it were 
of statues, a few broken columns lie there : within the thickness 
of the wall is a stair, of great marble blocks, to an upper terrace, 
laid upon massy round arches : it was now the den of some wild 
beast. " The pelican and the porcupine shall lodge in the upper 
lintels thereof." There is a deep dry pool beyond and then 
another, lined with rubble-work in mortar, and upon the next 
rising ground are lower walls, also of marble masonry as of some 
palace or beautiful Grecian building. The quarry, they tell me, 
is a little beyond the wady. I could not search further for my 
weariness nor loiter, for wide is now the desolation about so noble 
ruins. We found a Beduin booth not far off, where the poor man 
was much displeased that we could not stay to eat porridge with 
him ; and commonly such nightly hospitality received us in the 
wilderness. 

I saw at Kabbath Moab cyclopean ground walls, laid without 
mortar, and street lines of basalt pavement, a colonnade and 
some small temple yet standing of Greekish building. If you 
will believe them, under the next great heap of stones lies Great 
Alexander, whom they call Thu el Kurneyn " of the two horns," 
and meritb as who in his life would needs be accounted an 
offspring of the god Ammon, with his ram's head. Iskander is 
now a saint among them and amongst the Greek Christians ; for 
they will devoutly kiss his horned image appearing upon some 
old denars. I have seen, built in the outer wall of one of their 
churches in Palestine, an antique ornament of horned human 
heads, it may be of the old Canaanitish Sun-worshippers. We 
read in Genesis a like word, perhaps of the horned moon, Ash- 
teroth Karnaim. Upon the hollow paved way from hence down 
towards the Dead Sea, I hear is seen much Cyclopean building. 
From this royal city of Moab, in which I found but booths 
of summering Kerakers, whose flocks now lie down in the midst 
of her, is not far to Kir of Moab, now Kerak, a rock marvellously 
strong by nature; so that when all Moab was smitten and destroyed 



22 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

by the confederate kings of Israel and Judah and Edom, yet it 
could not be taken and is inhabited at this day. It was here per- 
haps that the King of Moab in the siege and straitness took his 
eldest son, that should have reigned after him, and offered him 
his fearful burnt offering for the land upon the wall. 

All the khurbets or ruined sites of this country are in the 
infirm heads of the Arabs, too supine and rude to cast a sum of 
them, "three hundred and sixty"; a round number of theirs, 
where they have one for every day in the year : but the now 
silent daughter of Moab was at all times a little poor uplandish 
maiden ; we read the Moabitish king " was a sheep master." 
The plots of khurbets are mostly small as hamlets ; their rude dry 
building is fallen down in few heaps of the common stones. 
I was so idle as to write the names of some of them, Khurbet 
Enjahsah, Mehnuwara, el-Hahlih, Mehaineh, Medddin, Negdes, 
Libbun, Jeljul, Nelnokh, Mehrud, Howihih, Gamereyn (of the 
two moons) Jarfa (where a Mohammedan shrine and mosque ; 
anciently it was a church). An ancient paved way passes 
through the country under Eabba, which we crossed ofttimes in 
riding ; after their belief, (they have no tradition, of the land, 
before Mohammed) it is the ancient haj road. Wells and 
water-pits are many in all this high plain now wilderness ; the 
eye falls everywhere upon stone heaps that the ancient husband- 
men once gathered from off their plough-lands — " heaps in the 
furrows of the fields " says Hosea — which remain after them for 
ever. Here are very fertile corn lands, ploughed to a hand- 
depth by the Kerakers : a few pounds will purchase a great 
field, and grain is in their town almost as the sand, that it 
cannot be sent abroad, for the excessive cost of camel carriage, 
which is as much as half the load to Jerusalem. Isaiah speaks 
of a great Moabitish multitude, and surely the ancient people 
were many in these fresh highlands. The Semites are wont to 
say of the old nations before them, that they were giants. The 
Nejd Beduins thus fable of the B. Heidi of Aad and Thamud. 
So before Moab were the Emim, sons of Anak, defeated by 
Chedorlaomer, whom Abram, with his three hundred young 
men, routed and the King of Nations and other kings two or 
three, which were in this outriding, with him. If Abraham 
alone had three hundred men, Abraham was a nomad tribe, and 
greater than many sub-tribes which are now-a-days in nomad 
Arabia. We read also of the children of Ammon that they 
succeeded to the giants, Zamzummim. 

When this land came to be weakened, it would be soon 
partly forsaken, as lying open upon the Beduin marches : the 
few people would draw together in the stronger villages, the 



THE LANDS BEYOND JORDAN WASTED. 23 

outlying hamlets would be left without inhabitant. An insecure 
country behind them, the fallen places would not be rebuilt. In 
any such discouragement Semites are wont to emigrate, and 
where they come they will settle themselves, with little looking 
backward to return. After their tradition, under Shebib ibn 
Tubbai the land was not yet desolate ; the Aarab el-Agaba 
destroyed all, they say, in times of Islam, — nomads from el- 
Yemen which from strong beginnings are to-day a miserable 
remnant of herdsmen under the sheykh of the town, inhabiting 
about Kerak, and others of them by the Ked Sea. Afterward 
they say the B. Helal harried this country, in their passing 
by to Egypt. Hither came David with the warfarers of Israel 
in the ancient days, and having got the better of the Moabites 
(whose king before had dealt very kindly with him, and saved 
his father and mother from king Saul) " he cast them, we read, 
to the ground and measured them in three parts with a line, 
two parts he killed, the third left he alive." Moses, David, 
Mohammed are all one in this ; as leaders of Semitic factions 
they are ethnicides. With the sword of the destroying angel 
they hew God's way before them in the wood of God's world. 
In the legend of the kings of Israel when Jehoram and Jeho- 
shaphat go up together with the king of Edom against the 
king of Moab they hear that charge of Elisha, but contrary 
to the word of Moses, " Smite ye every city of theirs, and fell 
every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good 
piece of land with stones " and they did so indeed. — " They 
beat down the cities, and on every good ground every man 
cast his stone, they stopped all the wells of water and felled 
all the good trees." The plains of Moab are now last of all 
trodden down by the Beduw, according to that cry of Jeremiah, 
" Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard ; they have trodden 
my pleasant portion under foot and made a desolate wilderness." 
And now the gravelly waste face of the soil is cattle-trodden 
and parched as it were to brick, under this burning sunshine. 
Moab is called God's washpot, perhaps for the veins of water 
in these limestones. But that which I have thought remark- 
able in these ruined village countries, is that their ancient 
people were stone builders, whereas the Mohammedans inhabit- 
ing after them are at this day clay builders. The prophets of 
old threatened to pour down their stones, and that they should 
become as heaps in the fields and as plantings of a vineyard. 

Kerak is now a small rude town and her people, of the 
nomad speech, are perhaps of Moabitish blood and partly immi- 
grants. It is so populous in the eyes of the dispersed nomads 
that they call it el-Medina, The City. The site is a sharp plat- 



24 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

form hill of limestone, environed by the winding of a deep 
coomb. Ibrahim Pasha, as he went up to Syria, took this place 
with a bloody assault of his Egyptian and Albanian soldiery : 
he shut up their sheykh in prison and left behind him a garrison ; 
but his men were after a few months overpowered by the 
ferocious peasants, who jealous of their immemorial liberties, 
and fearing lest they should be taxed as subjects to any foreign 
power, are at all times rebels to the far-off Syrian government. 
Their rock I saw might be taken without bloodshed, by cutting 
off the only water, which springs in the deep without ; or 
Kerak could be occupied at unawares in the spring-time of the 
year, when nearly all the villagers lie encamped abroad in tents 
as the nomads, for the summering of their cattle. I found them 
lodged in worsted booths in two main camps, as the Aarab, in 
the desert before the town ; and there is a third lesser camp 
of Greek Christians which, of late times, are suffered to dwell 
here in Beduin country, at the gate of Arabia ; but they 
are less worthy and hospitable than the Moslems, their formal 
religion is most in pattering and dumb superstition. They 
have a church building of St. George : a lickdish peasant priest 
and another Syrian his deacon are their clergy. It is strange 
here to see the Christian religion administered in the tents 
of Kedar ! I could not find that these gospellers had any con- 
science of the sanctity of Christ's lore : to the stronger Moslems 
I would sooner resort, who are of frank mind and, more than 
the other, fortified with the Arabian virtues. Nevertheless 
Mohammedans esteem of the Christians and their priests' faith, 
in the matter of a deposit ; this is ever their fantasy of the 
Nasara. We have seen the pilgrimage treasurers are Christians, 
and we always find aliens taken to these trusts, in the Moham- 
medan governments. Mohammed has made every follower of 
his, with his many spending and vanishing wives, a walker upon 
quicksands ; but Christ's religion contains a man in all, which 
binds him in single marriage. The Moslem town-sheykh deals 
tolerantly with them, they are part of his " many," but the 
Christians complain of vexations ; they are all rude men 
together. They have sometime attempted and had yet a mind 
to go from the place, and buying the rights of the soil, that is 
their peace, of the Beduins, for little money, to occupy Amman : 
but they remain at Kerak where they were born and are towns- 
men, and there is less to fear. Besides there is variance between 
Mohammed the sheykh of the place and his next cousin Khalil, 
with their nearly equal factions, and each part speaks the 
Christian neighbour fair, for the help that is rammed in their 
matchlocks, and those Nasara are hardy mountaineers. But 



KERAK. 



25 



the rude Moslems look askance upon the Christians' unknown 
rites, as if they were some impure mysteries. These Moslems 
show a sepulchre of Noah, who is notwithstanding buried, at 
great length, in other places. The Christians' sheep are marked 
down the chine with a threefold cross [ } j . Near 
the town I entered two long ancient galleries, in the limestone 
rock : one of them, in the valley near Khanzira, is hewn towards 
a spring head. 

Mohammed Mejelly the sheykh is homeborn, but his father 
or else his grandsire was an incoming rich peasant-body from 
J. el-Khalil, the mountains of Hebron ; for which cause any 
who are less his friends disdain him as a sheykh fellah, " a 
peasant lord " they say " to rule them ! " He is strong handed, 
ambitious, a bird of prey ; and they, barbarous subjects who 
will not be guided by reason, are ruled by strength, — and that 
is ofttime plain violence. Upon such a sheykh lies all the 
daily burden of the public hospitality. This peasant duke, 
whom they call a " Sooltan," taxes the next village Khanzira 
and holds the poorer sort of nomads in the country about at his 
obedience. The Beduins even of the Ghror, that deep under- 
lying Dead Sea plain, are his tributaries, a poor-spirited folk 
consumed with fevers, and almost black of the much heat and 
moisture. So his name, as you alight at any tents of Moab, is 
first in every man's mouth ; for all this he is a prisoner in his 
own circuit, nor durst be seen, if he would, without safe con- 
duct, at Jerusalem or Damascus. Just he is and constant, a 
politic ruler, as are always the Arab sheykhs, among his own 
people. The Kerakers are half Beduish, and Mohammed had 
not learned letters. For the dispatch of his affairs he has 
commonly some stranger by him as his secretary. It was a 
Christian when I visited him, one newly escaped hither for an 
homicide, at Bethlehem, (Kerak, beyond the governed country, 
is a sure refuge ; such outlaws live of the public hospitality). 
I heard Mejelly speak a good word, some complaint being 
brought before him, ' that he would be no party in any dispute 
between Moslem and Nasrany ; ' nevertheless the smooth 
Christian homicide, who behaved himself here as a person of 
civil integrity, whispered in my ear " Have thou a care of them, 
for these fear not Ullah." Mohammed, cock of this hill, of a 
haughty Arabian beauty, is, they say, a trembler in the field ; 
better him were to comb his beard delicately in a pedlar's 
glass with his wives at home, than show his fine skin to flying 
lead and their speary warfare. 

Neighbours to the town upon the north are the B. Hameydy : a 
mere stone marks their bounds, hajar missen, which stands within 



26 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

sight of Kerak. It is a tribe, as the rest, which had entered of old 
by the sword. The patriarch of the ancient Belka Arabs is named 
Ab el-Ghrennem. With the Syrian Haj government they pass 
for vile and treacherous, but are possessors of the most excellent 
strains of Arab horses, and in this fresh and plain country there 
is always plenty of wild pasture. Good friends were these in 
the field with those of the town, until of late there fell among 
them a savage division. It happened for the silver of the 
Franks, who had treated with the sheykh of Kerak, for that 
written stone which lay at Diban, (Dibon) in the hills of Moab 
and land of the B. Hameydy. I saw the place, there were 
fallen down ruins as of some very small village and perhaps 
a temple. Mohammed Mejelly, they told me, sent for this 
(Moabite) stone ; which laid then upon two mules' backs was 
borne to Jerusalem : and Mohammed, with a few bright Frankish 
pounds, thought himself vastly well rewarded, since he had 
only delivered a block, and that was not his own. The 
Hameydy hearing of his gains, their sheykhs rode to Kerak 
to require of Mejelly a just partition of the price ; but when 
any Arab has closed the hand upon a penny, for all his smiling 
and grave goodly words it comes not forth again. Then the 
B. Hameydy fell by night upon the tents of the Kerakers from 
the north ; it was the Christians' camp, in which part lies their 
inheritance : they killed five and took a score of matchlocks, 
also there fell of the nomads three men. The Christians said 
further, the Franks had sent other forty pounds, ' for their five 
lives,' from Jerusalem. The Hameydy were now retired from 
that side of the wilderness, and the townsmen durst no more 
pass their embittered neighbours, except it were by night-time. 
Mohammed Said Pasha, who was governor that year of the 
Peraea, would show me by this example when I visited him, the 
peril of my going down to Medain Salih ; for said he, if I removed 
some stone from thence, hurly-burlies might ensue and blood be 
shed in that wild country ! threescore men he told me (magnify- 
ing the numbers) had perished for the block carried from Diban. 
We marched this day, the seventh from Muzeyrib, twelve 
hours ; and before evening, descending in some coombs of these 
limestone downs, I saw many heaps of stones, which whether to 
mark a way, or graves, or places of cursing, or " heaps of witness " 
are common in all the Semitic desert countries. We came 
down upon a causey with a little bridge, made for the camels' 
passage over the slippery loam, to our encampment in Wady 
el-Hasy, which divides the uplands of Moab and Edom : a sandy 
seyl-strand or torrent, shelving out of the wilderness. In this 
bottom stands the Haj kella ; lower it is a narrow valley and 



WADY EL-HASY. 27 

deep, with a brook (perhaps the brook Zared of Moses) running 
out to the Dead Sea. Such deeps are all the limestone wadies 
descending from the eastern uplands, as Zerka, Mojeb, W. Kerak, 
beautiful with wild garden grounds and underwoods of the 
blossoming oleander, the pasture of the Christians' bees, (but 
thereof only a savourless honey,) to the Jordan and the alluvial 
lake valley. But where is the much stuff of these deep worn 
water furrows ? how many solid miles of whitish loamy matter 
borne down by these brooks in the past millenniums, lie not 
spread out now upon the Jordan and Salt Valley bottoms ! 
Under the kella is a new cistern to be filled by the freshet, for 
the well of stinking water within the tower is ruinous. After 
the long summer we found nothing in the birket to drink, but 
the shift of waterers was sent out, serving men which had gone all 
day upon their feet, to seek a cattle pool some miles lower in the 
valley and formerly known to me. It is a wild garden of rose- 
laurel and rushes, but from whence they brought again only 
water putrifying with the staling of the nomads' camels, which 
ever thus as they drink, envenom that little precious gift of 
water which is in the desert. This, which we could not drink, 
must now serve to our cooking. Other names of this valley are 
W. Adira and W. Fellah. I found below the pools, at my 
former coming, in the first days of June, a wild pasture ground 
of thick grass nearly a yard high, where some Beduins but then 
arrived with their cattle ; Aarab el-Hajya, a feeble tribe of 
Shobek. I was nobly entertained by their hearty old sheykh 
Hajelldn, who killed a sheep to his guests' supper. Here were 
many wild boars, ravagers of the corn plots, then in the ear, of 
the kella soldiery : the brook below breaks from the oozy bed of 
the wady. In all these valley streams are a multitude of small 
fishes, not unlike fry of chub, of a leaden colour. The Kerak 
Christians are zealous to show to strangers a little cross-shaped 
bone in them, near the head, which they think to be divine 
testimony of the Messiahi religion. I found in the kella a 
garrison of five men, with their Kerak wives and families. 




if" ^ 

Old Sculptured Ornament in the Peraea 



CHAPTER II. 



THE MOUNTAIN OF EDOM : ARABIA PETRAEA. 

Mount Seir, or Jebel Sherra, is high and cold. The Flint Land, or Arabia 
Petraea. The Nomads of J. Sherra. Jardania. Beduin riders. Mount Seir a 
land of ruins. Bosra of Edom. Idolatrous citizens changed to stones. Mann. 
Their factions. Most pure air. Journey westward in Edom. Sight of Mount 
Hor. Mons Regalis. Villagers of Edom ignorant in their religion. Aspect of 
the land. Villagers of the valley of Petra. Their tales of Pharaoh and Moses. 
Petra : the monuments, the Sik, Elgy, Mount Hor. Meddin Lut. Graaf. " The 
Wise of Edom." The land of Uz. " The Controversy of Zion." Doeg and David. 
Idumea southward to the Akaba Gulf. The Hisma Sheykh Ibn J ad. Red sand- 
stone land of Edom. The Syrian lark. An afrit. Remove from Maan. The 
desert plain. The camping grounds of Israel in the desert. Passengers' and 
caravaners' names and land names. 

Here the 19 — 20 November our tents were stiffened by the 
night's frost. Mount Seir or J. Sherra before us (sherra is 
interpreted high), is high and cold, and the Arabs' summer 
clothing is as nakedness in the winter season. The land is 
open, not a rock or tree or any good bush to bear off the icy 
wind ; it is reported, as a thing of a late memory, that wayfaring 
companies and their cattle have starved, coming this way over 
in the winter months. In the night they perished together, 
and the men were found lying by the cold ash-pits of their 
burned-out watch-fires. Not far from this wady, in front, begins 
that flint beach, which lies strewn over great part of the mountain 
of Esau ; a stony nakedness blackened by the weather : it is a 
head of gravel, whose earth was wasted by the winds and secular 
rains. This land-face of pebbles shines vapouring in the clear 
sun, and they are polished as the stones and even the mountains 
in Sinai by the ajaj or dust-bearing blasts. The wide-spread and 
often three-fathom deep bed of gravel, is the highest platform 
of land in all that province ; the worn flint-stones' are of the 
washed chalk rock lying beneath, in which are massy (tabular) 
silicious veins : we see such gravel to be laid out in shallow 



MOUNT SE1R. 29 

streaming water, but since this is the highest ground, from 
whence that wash of water ? The land-height is 4000 feet above 
the sea ! The Arabs name all this region Ard Suwwan, the 
Flint-Ground ; the same which is in the old Geographers Arabia 
Petraea. But, a marvel ! this gravel is not ancient, as the 
antiquity of man ; I have found in it such wrought flint instru- 
ments as we have from some river and lake gravels and loams 
of Europe. Journeying from this wady, we passed six or seven 
ancient mile-stones by the wayside, without inscriptions. At 
twelve miles' end we crossed the head of a deep and dry torrent 
(or seyl) named by the Haj Durf ed-Drawish " butter-skins of the 
poor Derwishes," whose course is not west to the Dead Sea-ward, 
but eastward in the desert : so they say " all this land ' seyls ' (or 
shelves, so that the shower-waters flow) towards the Tchol Bag- 
dad." In the hollow banks, when last I came by, I had found 
a night's lodging. Further in our march we see the soil under 
our feet strangely bestrewed with lava, whose edge is marked 
upon the gravel-land as it were a drift which is come from the 
westward, where we see certain black vulcanic bergs. Here, 
and where we journeyed still for fifty more miles, Esau's land is 
a great barrenness of gravel stones. We are in the marches of 
the Howeytdt, not a small Beduin nation, whose borders are the 
two seas. They are liker nomad fellahin than Beduins ; many 
among them use husbandry, all are tent-dwellers. — I should not 
wonder were they found to be Nabateans. Ibn Jeysey is sheykh 
of the Howeytat Darawessha, of the mountain of Edom ; in 
his circuit is Petra. Early in the afternoon we passed by a 
broken turret ; so small a sign of human hands is comfortable 
to the eyes in this desolate country. From hence three hours 
eastward upon the desert side, are the ruins of some con- 
siderable place, Borma or Burma. 

Before sunset we came to encamp a little short of the 
Kellat Anezy, where is but a cistern for rain water, kept by 
two lubbers, sons of old Damascene tower-guards and of Shobek 
mothers ; but commonly they live at home in their village. 
My pilgrimage companions would hardly believe me that I had 
drunk after rain the year before of this birket, they had never 
found water there. Some miles from thence, westward, are 
ruins of a place which the Arabs name Jardania, I went aside 
to see it at my former passing : and that there is shadow and 
shelter, it is often a lurking place of land-loping Beduw, so that 
of the armed company with whom I rode, there was one only 
who would follow me for a reward. I found a four-square town 
wall nearly thirty feet high and dry building in courses, of the 
wild lava blocks. There are corner towers and two mid-bastions 



30 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

upon a side, the whole area is not great : I saw within but high 
heaps of the fallen down lava house-building, a round arch in 
the midst and a small birket. What mean these lofty walls ; is 
not the site too small for a city ? neither is the soil very fit 
hereabout for husbandry ; less town than fortress, it might be 
a praesidium, in these parts, upon the trade road. Thereby 
stands a black vulcanic mountain which is a landmark seen 
from Maan. Here passing, in my former journeys, we saw 
Aarab horsemen which approached us ; we being too many for 
them, they came but to beg insolently a handful of tobacco. 
In their camps such would be kind hosts ; but had we fallen 
into their hands in the desert we should have found them 
fiends, they would have stripped us, and perchance in a savage 
wantonness have cut some of our throats. These were three 
long-haired Beduins that bid us salaam (peace) ; and a fourth 
shock-haired cyclops of the desert, whom the fleetness of their 
mares had outstripped, trotted in after them, uncouthly seated 
upon the rawbone narrow withers of his dromedary, with- 
out saddle, without bridle, and only as an herdsman driving 
her with his voice and] the camel-stick. His fellows rode 
with naked legs and unshod upon their beautiful mares' bare 
backs, the halter in one hand, and the long balanced lance, 
wavering upon the shoulder, in the other. We should think 
them sprawling riders ; for a boast or warlike exercise, in the 
presence of our armed company, they let us view how fairly 
they could ride a career and turn : striking back heels and 
seated low, with pressed thighs, they parted at a hand-galop, 
made a tourney or two easily upon the plain ; and now wheeling 
wide, they betook themselves down in the desert, every man 
bearing and handling his spear as at point to strike a foe- 
man ; so fetching a compass and we marching, they a little out 
of breath came gallantly again. Under the most ragged of 
these riders was a very perfect young and startling chestnut 
mare, — so shapely there are only few among them. Never 
combed by her rude master, but all shining beautiful and 
gentle of herself, she seemed a darling life upon that savage 
soil not worthy of her gracious pasterns : the strutting tail 
flowed down even to the ground, and the mane (orfa) was shed 
by the loving nurture of her mother Nature. 

The settled folk in Arabian country, are always envious 
haters of the nomads that encompass them, in their oases 
islands, with the danger of the desert. These with whom I 
journeyed, were the captain of the haj road at Maan and 
his score of soldiery, the most being armed peasantry of the 
place, which came driving a government herd of goats, (the un- 



BEDUIN HORSEMEN. 31 

willing contribution of the few unsubmitted Idumean villages) 
to sell them at Nablus (Sichem). Shots were fired by some of 
them in the rear in contempt of the Beduw, whose mares, 
at every gunfire, shrank and sprang under them, so that the 
men, with their loose seats were near falling over the horses' 
heads. " Nay Sirs ! " they cried back, " nay Sirs, why fray ye 
our mares ? " The Beduw thus looking over their shoulders, 
the peasantry shot the more, hoping to see them miscarry ; he 
of the beautiful filly sat already upon his horse's neck, the 
others were almost dislodged. So the officer called to them, 
41 Hold lads ! " and " have done lads ! " and they " Our guns went 
off, wellah, as it were of themselves." And little cared they, as 
half desperate men, that had not seen a cross of their pay in 
sixteen months, to obey the words of their scurvy commander. 
They marched with a pyrrhic dancing and beating the tambour : 
it is a leaping counter and tripping high in measure, whilst 
they chant in wild manner with wavings of the body and 
fighting aloft in the air with the drawn sword. Those Beduins 
roughly demanded concerning me " And who is he ? " It was 
answered " A Nasrany,"— by which name, of evil omen, the 
nomads could only understand a calamity in their land : and 
they arrogantly again in their throats " Like to this one see 
ye bring no more hither ! " As I heard their word, I shouted 
" Arrest, lay hands on them ! " They thought it time to be 
gone, and without leave-taking they turned from us and were 
quickly ridden under the horizon. 

The pilgrimage set forward betimes on the morrow ; the 
signal gunfire heard in front, a moment before the sun rising, 
the caravan halted and we alighted a few minutes for the 
morning prayer. Westward appeared the highlands of Shobek, 
upon our left hand were low ranging hills in the desert. Seir 
(interpreted rough woodland), this high and fresh country, was 
of old times settled, upon all its western borders, (beyond the 
wilderness of stones) ; the khurbets there of antique small 
towns, villages and hamlets are not fewer than those of 
J. Kerak. Beside Maan, the road station, the land is now 
desolate, saving four or five good villages, which yet remain 
from antiquity in the high and watered western coast, over- 
looking the Ghror and Valley of Salt. Of these is Bosra 
(Buseira), Amos threatens her palaces ; there, say the Arabs, are 
tall standing (Koman) ruins. We held on over the black flint 
gravel face of this limestone plain, always at an even height, 
near 4000 feet, till two hours after noon, when we had sight 
of Maan, and came where in a torrent bed are laid bare certain 



32 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

great tubers (also common in the country next about) of the 
lime rock underlying : these are " the carcases of ancient 
kafirs." Here by the fable, stood an antique idolatrous city, 
until a voice falling from heaven upon them, they became 
these stark stones. I saw many pilgrims alighted to take 
up pebbles and cast ,at the cursed stone kafirs ; whilst the Haj 
service, grown old upon the road, having once cast their stones 
as novices, pass by with a weary indifference. 

Maan is a merkez (centre or rest station) of the haj road, an- 
other is Medain Salih, before Medina. We arrive, saluted by 
the firing of our artillery, mounted upon a rising ground, beside 
the long moving lines of the caravan, which pass westward 
of the village to their encampment, where little flags are flying 
upon all the pavilions : over our Aga's great tent is the lean and 
crippling lion of Persia. At Maan I was well known, since in 
my former passage when I came hither from Egypt and Sinai, 
I had stayed there twenty days. I dreaded the great Haj 
officers would here remember me, in their leisure, and send 
through the encampment to seek out the " Frenjy," and I should 
be turned back at the borders of Arabia : — and it was so, they 
sought for me. Maan, the only village now upon this desolate side 
of J. Sherra, began to be colonized, they say, in the last three 
centuries ; when here, upon an old ruined site, was founded 
a principal Haj station about the kella, made by the Sultan 
Selim, a benefactor and builder upon the pilgrimage road- 
Such a garrison station was old Maan, under the Eomans and in 
Mohammed's age, upon the highway of the Sabean traffic and 
first in the brow of Syria to those ascending from Arabia. 
A gunshot from Maan, upon the north, are ruins which they 
call now Hammam ; there is a vast dry cistern, unlike the 
work of this country, of brick walls, sixty paces upon a side,, 
which was fed by a little conduit pipe, now wasted, from 
a spring at Shemmia. Of the old town, only a few great 
upright stones and waste walls are yet standing, some are laid 
with mortar and even plastered within, but the most is dry- 
building ; the good masonry has been broken up for stones to 
build the kella : also I saw at Maan two chapiters of ancient 
marble pillars, and upon them some sculptured barbaric orna- 
ment of basket or network. Hammam, if it be not Arabic, 
resembles a biblical name Homam, which we read in the line 
of Esau ; we read Shammah also in the lineage of Esau. Shem- 
mia is a sister village, half a mile west from Maan ; there are 
five or six score inhabitants, and at Maan two hundred. Shem- 
mia is pleasanter and fruitful, her green corn-fields are watered 
by a slender spring, her villagers are of a peaceful behaviour ; 



MAAN. 



33 



her wells are many, the boughs of her fruit-trees hang over 
the clay orchard walls into the inhuman desert. Shemmia and 
Maan are such doubtless as the " fenced cities " of old. They are 
clay walled, but walls and towers are full of breaches, as in all 
the Arab places. The Haj government established here in late 
years a station of horse troopers and Ageyl riders, which should 
keep the pilgrimage highway, and tame the insolence of the 
Beduw. Maan was for a while full of tents, and quarters were 
built at Shemmia ; but this Turkish policy also was short lived. 
At Maan the mukowwems and merchants leave a part of 
their heavy wares and furnitures, because of the intolerable 
cost of carriage upon the backs of camels. There is a sealed 
storehouse and over it an officer, Mudir el-mal, where their 
goods are deposited. There is also in the Haj train certain 
government carriage ; and first the camels charged with the 
Sultan's yearly gift for the service (mostly fine oil for the lamps) 
of the temples at Medina and Mecca ; then the year's rations of 
all the kellats along the road. Corn might be had here at half 
the Damascus price, from Kerak and Shobek ; but because 
of the perpetual insecurity of the outlying country they keep 
the old custom, to fetch all up from the Hauran to Damascus, 
and carry it down again in the pilgrimage ; so that one sack 
costs them as much as three sacks would be naturally worth, 
at Maan. The shops at Maan are of small salesmen to the 
Beduins ; they are mostly traders come over from Hebron. 







Urara 
Mortraab 



'a'NL QlSirket 




D. T. 



Map of Maan. 



34 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

A lower quarter of the clay village, in the wady, stands lately 
ruined ; it happened by the political malady of the Arabs. 
There is a saying, if any stranger enquire of the first met 
of Maan, were it even a child, " Who is here the sheykh ? " he 
would answer him " I am he." They are very factious light 
heads, their minds are divided betwixt supine recklessness and 
a squalid avarice. When I formerly lodged here I heard with 
discomfort of mind their hourly squabbling, as it were rats in 
a tub, with loud wrangling over every trifle as of fiends in the 
end of the world. It is a proverb here, that a man will slay 
the son of his mother for an old shoe-leather. The breach was 
this : some children disputed for an apple, the strife increased, 
men rose from the clay benches, men came forth from the 
thresholds, and drawing to their partialities, every hot head 
cried down, despised and threatened his contraries. Men 
armed themselves, and the elders' reverence was weak to 
appease this strong sedition. Barbarous shoutings are answered 
with bloody words ; they ran apart from both sides to their 
quarters, and as every man entered his cottage there he shut 
himself in and fortified the door ; then he mounted upon his clay 
roof to shoot against the next hostile houses. None of them 
durst come forth more in all that year, for their adversaries 
would let shots fly at him from their house terraces. Upon 
both sides they saw the harvest ripen and stand out so long, 
without reapers, that all their bread was lost ; at length also 
their pleasant autumn fruits, hanging ruddy in the orchards, 
rotted before their eyes. There fell eight beleaguered cham- 
pions, in eight months, beside some it was said who perished 
with hunger. In this time many, not partisans, had abandoned 
Maan ; the most went to settle themselves in the Hauran : 
all the small traders removed to Shemmia. — These Eve's sons 
were lost for the apple at Maan ! even the peasant soldiery had 
taken part with their seditious fellow-villagers, but the end was 
near. The Pasha, at the returning of the Haj, enclosed their 
place with the caravan guard, drew out the hunger-starved 
rioters and binding their ringleaders and the sheykhs, carried 
them, about twenty persons, to prison in Damascus. Strangers 
count the people of Maan of Jewish blood, saying " The fairness 
of their young women fades from the first child-bearing, and 
the name Harun is common among them ; " — but this is because 
they are neighbours to Mount Hor, where is a shrine of Aaron. 

East of the village is the desert ground Ard el-Kelby (also 
the name of a very ancient tribe once in these quarters,) and 
full of the limestone tubers, whereof they fondly imagine 
hamlets and villages. The lesser knot-stones are like Holland 



FLINT INSTRUMENTS IN ARABIA PETRAEA. 35 

cheeses, " which the angels cast out of their hands from Heaven 
upon an impious generation " : a spring is seen there of ancient 
work hewn back in the limestone rock. A mile to the north is 
a ruined village Mortrdb upon a rising ground, the dry-built 
house-walls of stone yet standing ; the chambers are very 
small, as in all the ruined places. The air is most pure at 
Maan, the summer nights fresh, and in the ending of April 
were yet chill at this great altitude. In winter the snow lies 
commonly somewhile upon the ground. The samn or clari- 
fied Beduin butter of this droughty highland is esteemed 
above other, in Syria. Oftentimes in the forenoons, I saw a 
mirage over the flint plains ; within my experience, none could 
mistake the Arabian desert mirage for water. The spring is 
scant at Maan and failing ; it comes to them from an ancient 
dripping well-gallery, as it were a mine for water, (like 
those at Siena in Italy), and such are not seldom seen in 
these old dry countries opened to great length underground 
upon some vein of water, having many mouths to the air. 
Water in wells at Shemmia and Maan lies at less than three 
fathoms ; the freshets go out in the desert. Walking in the 
torrent bed at Maan my eyes lighted upon, — and I took up, 
moved and astonished, one after another, seven flints chipped to an 
edge, (the before mentioned) : we must suppose them of rational, 
that is an human labour. But what was that old human kindred 
which inhabited the land so long before the Semitic race ? Does 
not the word of Isaiah, there imitating perhaps the people's argot, 
come to our hearts concerning them ? — " What was the rock 
whence ye were hewn, and the hole of the pit whence ye were 
digged ! " (see fig. pp. 36 and 37). 

At that time I went over the moorland to Shobek in the 
village land of Edom. After fifteen miles is a principal ruined 
site Utherah ; the ancient town is built at a strong spring, 
welling forth in a great waterbrook. There are ground walls 
of squared stones and round arches * of regular masonry, and 
small dry-built chambers of the old private houses. I saw a 
passage leading under the earth with a side chamber, of the 
best masonry ; also rude chapiters of pillars and fragments of 
white marble, of which all the best was, they say, carried to 
Damascus, long ago, for those beautiful pavements of the courts 
of their houses : there is an aqueduct ending in solid towers, 
which they call water-mills. In this good forsaken soil are 
outlying corn plots of Maan ; the harvest they must halve 
with the Beduins, who are lords of the desert. Here lay now a 
camp of them. The iniquitous sheykhs had put in their mares 
to graze the villagers' standing corn. Though in so good 

3—2 



THE VILLAGE LAND OF EDOM. 




Flint instruments found (1875) in the high land (flint) gravel of Mt. Seir ; freshet bed at 
Maan, 4200 ft. : reduced one-third. 



a country, some among them I saw were so poor, that they 
had no booth to shield them from the weather ; only a little 
hair-cloth sail was set up before them upon a stake, to bear 
off the night blast. These Howeytat sat upon the three sides 
of a square before us in the sheykh's tent, which is usage of 
the fellahin, half nomads, in the villages of Edom : their women 
are not veiled. Green is this upland, in the ending of May, 
under the Syrian sky, with wild grassy herbage. An hour 
beyond, are dry-built ruins of a fenced village, Mottehma. An 
hour later another, Hetigy ; an hour before Shobek at a brook- 
side, the ruins Nejjel ; the land is open limestone downs and 
coombs. A little more, and we came to the brink of the 
mountain of Esau, and looked down into the hazy deep of the 
sunken Dead Sea land and Wady el-Araba : the ground might 
be five thousand feet beneath us. The bluish dark saddlehead 



$S TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

of a sandstone mountain appeared a little wide to the south- 
ward below our feet, this is mount Hor (Jebel Saidna Harun) 
which stands behind Petra. We came here to a summer camp 
of the Shobekers, who like those of Kerak, are half the year 
lodged abroad in the wilderness, in booths, as the nomads ; 
rude good fellows and hospitable, not subject to any strange 
government, very jealous of their liberties. Shobek, Mons 
Regalis of the crusaders, was over the next bent : but the 
sheykh said I should never come in thither, except for much 
money. Then he promised I should see their deep old draw- 
well and a Kufic inscription. It is from an obscure tradition of 
the crusaders, that these unlettered peasants fanatically abhor 
the name of Frengies. The tall villager was not a lord born, 
but by the bull force of his body and the armed support of 
his partisans, had of late made himself sheykh. " What wot 
any man," exclaimed Strongbrawns, " that I was not one come 
to spy their place, and the Frengies would enter afterward 
to take the country ? " This honest host fed us largely in his 
great tent of a sheep boiled (such here is their marvellous 
abundance) in butter-milk. For Israel ascending from Sinai 
this was a land that flowed with milk indeed. 

The Idumean villagers are noted to be without formal 
knowledge of religion. It seems besides the shrine and chapel- 
of-rags of Aaron upon Mount Hor they have no mesjids (mosques), 
or any other canonical observance than to circumcise their male 
children. At Maan I have heard a tale of them that may seem 
a fable. " Years ago there came up a zealous elder from the 
wilderness of Hebron to Bosra, where he saw some men warming 
themselves in a field at a great fire they had made of olive 
timber, and went and sat down by them. After tidings, the 
venerable man beginning to preach to them of the common 
faith, he reproved their ignorance, lamenting to God that, 
knowing not how to pray, and not fasting in ramadan, or yielding 
tribute to lawful government, they were in danger to fall down, 
at the last, into hell fire. The peasants, who listened maliciously, 
answered, ' We shall put thee in first, thou old man. Fellows, 
we have heard the words of him enough : more wood ! ' And 
they thrust him in, and flinging on timber, let him lie and 
burn, not fearing that this strange blood should ever be required 
of them." 

There are no more wine-fats at Bosra, but her fields are 
even now fruitful vineyards. The Hebrew prophets at all times 
rail with bitter enmity of evil neighbourhood against the Peraean 
countries : we may gather out of their words that these were 
corn and vine lands. Isaiah seems to signify that Edom was 






PETRA VISITED. 39 

full of small cattle ; they to-day abound upon this mountain 
side. The greatest sheep flocks which I have seen of the Arabs 
were in the rocky coomb-land (the country of Isaiah's rams of 
Nebaioth) between Shobek and Petra, whither I now went. 
The rock is full of beds and shelves of tabular flint : in the best- 
sheltered places are corn plots of the neighbouring villagers, ard 
baal. nourished only by the rain. Some outlying fallows are tilled 
by a kind of nomad peasantry, dwelling hereabout in tents at 
all times, and not accounting themselves Beduins. One of them 
being my muleteer in this journey, I passed a night in their 
encampment ; but the tribe's name is not now in my remem- 
brance. They inhabit the soil in peace, for they pay the " brother- 
ship " to all Beduins, even to those by Medain Salih, two hundred 
miles to the southward ; thus none preying upon them they 
increase continually. I think I have seen flocks of five hundred 
head couched at night before some tents of their households. 
This limestone moorland, of so great altitude, resembles Europe, 
and there are hollow park-like grounds with evergreen oak 
timber. After nine miles upon a rising ground are rude dry- 
built ruins Khidad, and some limestone caverns ; the place is 
like Kurmel, where Nabal dwelt, eastward below Hebron. 
We may think these high borders were anciently hardly less 
peopled than the best parts of settled Syria at this day. The 
air is so light, the bright shining spring sun was little hot 
here at noonday ; we passed by some other ruined sites, they 
are always seen beside springs. 

We began to descend over a cragged lime-rock, beset with 
juniper, towards Wady Musa, Moses' valley, that is Petra, now 
appearing as a deep cleft very far below us. We saw an 
encampment of worsted booths, but not of Beduw. These were 
summering peasants of W. Musa : their village is Eljy above 
Petra. My guide whispered in my ear, " these were perilous 
fellows that cared nothing for captain at Maan and haj-road 
government ; it might be SJieytmi if they happened to detain 
me." The sheykhs came out to meet us, but when we entered 
the chief tent they said we should not pass to-day, and one 
asked with the Arabs' maliciousness, if I had no mind to remain 
a moon with them. They made coffee, but chided with my 
driver protesting " that though the world besides might be open 
passage, yet so is not W. Musa, no, wellah ! nor they men to be 
commanded whether by Sultan or pasha ! " They were churls, 
and whilst they pleased I should be here their captive guest. 
Heavy is their long day of idleness, they slumber every hour and 
smoke tobacco ; some of them I have seen toss pebbles in their 
hard fists, to drive the time away. At length, the sun setting, 



40 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

a mighty trencher is fetched in of porridge (Jewish), and all 
present are partakers of the bountiful poor mess. The night 
advanced, we lie down in our places on the earth, to sleep ; but 
then the sinners of goats trooping in from the night air, walked 
over our faces every hour till the morning light. 

The worthy Burckhardt who in our fathers' time adventuring 
this way down to Egypt, happily lighted upon the forgotten site 
of Petra, found these peasants already of a fresh behaviour. 
He appeared to them as a Syrian stranger and a Moslem, yet 
hardly they suffered him to pass by the monuments and ascend 
to sacrifice his lamb upon Mount Hor. Europeans visiting Petra 
commonly lament the robber violence of these Eljy villagers ; 
but the same were now very good to me, since I came to them 
in a red cap from the part of the Dowla, and had eaten bread 
with them in the tents. When the sun is at half noon height, 
they break their fasts ; after that I departed, and they sent 
four men along with us, that no evil might betide me in that 
wild abysmal place which is desolate Petra. The limestone 
downs and coombs, where we descended, are like the country 
about Bath. W. Faraoun we see first, and far off under the 
sun Kasr Faraoun (Pharaoh's palace) : that is the only building 
in the valley of Petra, and much like a temple, which is of 
regular masonry. In this country every marvel is ascribed 
to Pharaoh who made himself, they told me, to be worshipped as 
a god and here resisted Moses and Aaron. 

We have left the limestones with certain rude caverns 
above ; the underlying mountain rocks are ruddy sandstones and 
pictured often with green coloured and purple veins : lower in 
the same are the high cliffs of the hewn monuments. Descend- 
ing deeply, we came by the principal of them, Greekish palatial 
frontispices of two storeys now much decayed by the weather. 
There is nothing answerable within to the majestical faces, 
pompous portals leading but into inconsiderable solid halls with- 
out ornament ; now they are nightstalls of the nomads' flocks 
and blackened with the herdsmen's fires. The valley cliffs, upon 
both sides, are sculptured in frontispieces full of columns and 
cornices with their inner chambers ; the most are of a formal 
pattern, which I saw later at Medain Salih, and there are 
other like to those few hewn monuments, which we see in 
the valley of Jehoshaphat at Jerusalem! A good part of the 
monuments are manifestly sepulchral, none I can think were 
houses ; and were all numbered together they would not be 
found very many. The city was surely in the midst and, to 
judge by that little we see remaining of stone ruins, of clay 
building. It is thus at Medain Salih : in both towns they 






PETRA. 41 

might see their monuments standing round about them. We 
made some chambers in the rock our night's lodging under a 
little hewn cistern, Ayn Musa, and which only, of all here seen, 
I can conjecture to have been a dwelling. 

The men returned on the morrow, and as we passed on alone 
through the solitary valley, some Beduins that had spied us from 
the cliffs far off descended to make trouble. Four young men 
stayed my mule, forbidding further passage ; they having but 
one gun, I was for going by them. My driver said they would 
then bring down many upon us, but these would be content to 
depart for a little money, which I gave them ; and yet we could 
not be quit of the fellows, they accompanied us now as friends. 
The midday was not here hot, the land-height is perhaps as much 
as two thousand feet. Near the head of the valley, we found a 
Beduin and his wife with their flock, and sat down by the poor 
man, who went and milked his goats for us bountifully. There a 
side valley ascends to Mount Hor. I asked him, when we had 
drunk, if he would not be my companion, and we would go now 
upon the mountain. " He durst not," he answered, " had he fifty 
men to accompany us with their guns, no nor for any reward " : 
the villagers had forbidden me already, giving me to understand 
that I should fall by their shot in so doing, although I had 
many lives. From thence passing by the hewn theatre we 
entered the Sik ; this is a passage by a deep cleft in the valley 
head, wherein are many wild fig trees. Near the mouth is that 
most perfect of the monuments Khasna (treasure-house of) 
Faraoun, whose sculptured columns and cornices are pure lines 
of a crystalline beauty without blemish, whereupon the golden 
sun looks from above, and Nature has painted that sand-rock 
ruddy with iron-rust. Through the Sik an old pavement may be 
seen in the torrent-bed, and in the sides certain obscure and 
singular tablets — we shall consider them later at Medain Salih. 
At the upper end (now in the limestone) are few other pyramidal 
hewn monuments and side caverns. Above is the village Eljy 
with a great spring Ayn Harun, which leaving apart we mounted 
by a cragged mountain way, and came after long miles to the 
summer encampment of the other sheykh of Wady Musa ; upon 
a high hill-side where the wind blew chill, and the nights 
were yet cold. There by a spring are ruins of an antique 
village Merbrak. Arriving as guests, we were entertained in the 
sheykh's tent and regaled with new butter and cheese and leban 
(butter-milk). Some, to make the strangers cheer, chanted 
to the hoarse chord of the Arab viol ; so they make to them- 
selves music like David, drawing out the voice in the nose, 
to a demesurate length, which must move our yawning or 



42 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

laughter. I found the most here diseased in the eyes, as are 
nearly all the Arabs, even from their childhood. 

I returned on the morrow to view the rest of the monuments 
of Petra, and upon a tomb in the west cliffs of three columns 
whose hewn fore-wall is broken away beneath, I saw a large 



ikWMHMlIQftdDWMNwnui} 




perfect and beautiful ancient inscription of several lines ; it might 
be Nabatean. An hour from the Sik is said to be another inscrip- 
tion, (above a hewn " casement " in the rock,) at a place called 
Sabra. Strange and horrible as a pit, in an inhuman deadness of 
nature, is this site of the Nabateans' metropolis ; the eye recoils 
from that mountainous close of iron cliffs, in which the ghastly 
waste monuments of a sumptuous barbaric art are from the first 
glance an eyesore. The villager, my companion, led me up 
over the coast to the vast frontispiece ed-Deir : from those 
heights above, is a marvellous prospect of the immense low- 
lying Araba valley and of the sandstone mountain of Biblical 
memory, Mount Hor, rising nigh at our hand ; behind us 
is the high rugged coast of Seir. But the sun setting, 
we durst not loiter, the peasant strode down before me : when 
I came to him he was passionately pattering prayers and casting 
his hands to Heaven for our deliverance from that peril, which 
they imagine to be ever in so solitary a place. We hasted 
through the wild of rocks and blossoming oleanders : many 
startling rock partridges with loud chuck ! chuck ! flew up 
before us and betrayed our lonely footfall. The mule we found 
where we had left her, in Pharaoh's treasure-house. Then 
passing the Sik, the fellow would have brought me to sleep 
in el-Eljy, at his own house. But when we came nigh and 
the villagers, who had knowledge of our expedition since the 
morning, heard a clatter of the mule's hoofs on the rocks above, 
a horrid clamour rose of wild throats below crying from all 
houses, ■ out upon us,' forbidding that any Nasrany should 



ESAU AND ISRAEL. 43 

enter their place. Also this fellow of theirs that accompanied 
me, they named Abu Nasrdny (a father or abettor of Christians) ; 
and when they had found this bitter railing cry, it was shouted 
among them outrageously. The wretch, with me, plucked his 
hair, and with palms of supplication prayed in an agony to be 
delivered : he drove quickly upon the cold mountain side to 
come by them ; and so returning upward we rode late through 
the darkness to the tents again. Thus far I have spoken of 
the Petra monuments, that with these we might afterward com- 
pare Medain Salih. Some credible persons have spoken to me 
of other like monuments, but they are few, which are seen in the 
Dead Sea country between J. Sherra and J. Khalil ; that place 
is named Medain Lut, the Cities of Lot. A lettered trader of 
my acquaintance who had sometimes passed there, said that 
those were frontispieces without inscriptions. 

Maan is only five hours from Petra ; returning, in the way 
thither I saw the dry-built ruins Graaf, which are the most con- 
siderable after Utherah in the high land of Esau ; where also they 
reckon, as in Moab, " three hundred and sixty," that is to say very 
many, khurbets. This country people, who have no antique 
tradition, will tell you again ' the antique citizens and builders 
before them were men of great stature.' Wisdom and under- 
standing are ascribed in the scriptures to the inhabitants of 
Edom, of which wisdom it might be that their habitations were 
so simple, void of unnecessary things, seeing they possessed 
their lives, as the generations before them, but for a moment. 
Ammon, Moab, Edom were neighbour lands to the nomads, 
people of their kindred ; it were not likely they should use 
much more ambitious curiosity than the nomads in building 
their houses. Some of the inhabitants of Moab and Edom by 
the testimony of a psalm were tent-dwellers. Edom is in 
Isaiah the Land of Uz. 

Edom and Jeshurun are rivals, and great was the cruelty of 
the Hebrew arms in these countries. When David was king, his 
sister's son Joab went and killed of Edomites in the Ghror twelve 
thousand men, and Joab's brother Abishai killed of them his 
eighteen thousand, if the Semitic numbers were aught ; Edom, be 
it remembered, and Moab and Ammon, were states to be com- 
pared with our smaller counties. Joab's sword went through 
Edom six months, until he had made an end of killing every male 
of Esau, and belike he made then sure of Doeg the king's ad- 
versary, and the righteous laughed to the ears, at his calamity ; 
but all was contrary to Moses' word " Thou shalt not abhor the 
Edomite for he is thy brother." David set garrisons in all Edom : 
after him in the generations of his house, Amaziah slew of 



44 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Edomites his ten thousand, in the same Ghror ; the Idumean 
mountain perhaps, with so high coasts was too hard for them. 
Other ten thousand, taken captives, he brought to the top of 
the rock (we have seen by Shobek, what fearful precipices are 
over the Ghror), and there he made them the king's tumblers, 
casting them headlong down together by the sharp rocks, that 
they were all broken in pieces. In the Hebrew scripture we 
hear a voice of the daughter of Edom detesting the bloody city, 
and crying " Down with it, down with it, to the ground." They 
exult in the ruin of Judah and Israel, and naturally desire also 
those now desolate neighbour lands, an heritage for them- 
selves. And this is " the controversy of Zion," whereof the 
Hebrew prophets are in pain, as of a woman in travail. ' Against 
Esau's land the Lord hath indignation for ever : his sword 
bathed in heaven shall smite down upon the people of his 
curse, even upon Idumea, and the land shall be soaked with 
blood. The day of the Lord's vengeance, his recompense for 
the controversy of Zion : he shall stretch upon Edom the line 
of confusion and the plummet of emptiness ; thorns, thistles, 
and nettles shall spring, and ghastly beasts, dragons, owls and a 
satyr, and the night raven shall dwell there. I am against 
thee, I will make mount Seir most desolate : because thou hast 
a perpetual hatred and hast shed the blood of Israel, in the 
time of calamity. I will fill thy mountains with the slain and 
make thee a perpetual desolation, because thou saidest their two 
countries shall be mine. Because thou didst rejoice over the 
inheritance of Israel that it was desolate : because Edom did 
pursue his brother with the sword and cast off all pity and 
kept his wrath for ever.' Malachi speaks of the land as already 
wasted. " I loved Jacob and hated Esau. Whereas Edom saith 
we will return to build the desolate places, the Lord saith they 
shall build, but I will throw down." We read in two of the 
prophets a proverbial refrain of the utter cutting off of Esau 
that there is nothing left. " If thieves come to thee by night 
would they not have stolen [but] till they had enough ? if the 
grape-gatherers come to thee would they not leave some glean- 
ing of grapes ? " And his mouth was bitter which said " When 
the whole world rejoiceth, yet will I make thee desolate." 

The pilgrims rested all the next day over in their encamp- 
ment. And now I will briefly speak of the way from hence in 
Idumea to Ayla, (by Ezion Gaber) : in the same, after the Haj 
tradition, was the ancient passage southward of the great pil- 
grimage, which entered thus (at the head of the Akaba Gulf,) the 
Egyptian path to the sacred cities. That gulf is the fjord, or 









MOUNT SEIR SOUTHWARD. 



45 



drowned valley of the great Araba land-trough. As we would go 
from Akaba upward to Edom, our path lies for few miles through 
the open W. el- Araba ; then by a side valley enters the coast of 







Head of the Gulf of Akaba and palm village of Ayla. 



granite mountains, seamed with vulcanic dykes hundreds of 
feet in height as in Sinai. And this is the W. Lithm, encum- 
bered by mighty banks of ancient flood-soil. In the mouth is a 
ruinous ancient dam, es-Sid, of wild blocks laid to a face in 
mortar. After twelve miles we see above us the highest of these 
granite bergs Jebel Bakr, of granite, and there we pass by a 
stone scored over with a Nabatean inscription : the Arabs spoke 
to me of some effigy that was here, of a human head or figure. 
Thirty miles from Akaba being come upon a pleasant highland we 
found some plough-lands in the desert, green with corn nourished 
only of the rain ; the husbandry, I heard with wonder, of Allowin 
Howeytat Beduins. These desert men lean to the civil life, and 
are such yeomen perhaps as Esau was. Other of their tribes- 
men I have seen, which are settled in tents, earing the desert sand 
near Gaza ; their plough is a sharpened stake, shod with iron, 
and one plough-camel draught. The Arab yeoman will lay 
this plough-tree on his shoulder, and ride with a snivelling song 
upon his work beast, to and from the ploughing. Later there 
was warfare between their kindreds for those desert fallows ; and 
the worsted part, (in the former time of my being at Maan,) fled 
over to their kinsmen in J. Sherra, who, with the old humanity 
of the desert, distributed to them of their own cattle. The 
Howeytat speech savours of peasantry, even in the mouths of 
those that live furthest in Arabia. All this noble open country 
lies waste, of the best corn lands. At the next daybreak we came 
by a broken cistern Gueyria and conduit, under Jebel Shafy, 
whose peak is of the motley and streaked sandstones of Petra. 

And here upon the granite borders is the beginning of a great 
sandstone country el-Hisma or Hessma, which stretches so far 
into Arabia. In this place some of the barley-plot Beduins of 



46 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

yesterday, had pitched their camp : Ibn Jad their sheykh, to 
whom we now came, is lord of that country side. The generous 
old lion (but as they be all, an ungenerous enemy,) came forth in 
a red mantle to meet us, and with kind greeting he led me by 
the hand into the shadow of a nomad booth. His people with 
him were some thirty tents set out in an oval, which is their 
manner in these parts. Ibn Jad told me the division of waters, 
to the Ked and the Dead Seas, lay " an hour " from that place 
northward. We felt the spring mid-day here very hot. Un- 
known to me the old sheykh had killed a sheep for his guests ; 
and all the men of the encampment assembled to the afternoon 
guest-meal with us, when between two persons was fetched in a 
lordly dish, the Beduin hospitality. His vast trencher was heaped 
with the boiled mutton and with great store of girdle-bread hot 
from the housewife's fire. All these tribesmen abound in bread- 
stuffs of their own husbandry ; they know not hunger. Looking 
upon that shoal of kerchiefed Howeytat heads, and they are rude- 
limned peasant-like bodies, I thought I had not ever seen such 
a strange thick-faced cob-nosed cobblers' brotherhood. Ibn Jad 
rent morsels of the boiled flesh and lapping each portion in a 
girdle-cake, he said a man's name and delivered it to him ; they 
were too many to sit about the dish. The Hisma is here a forest 
of square-built platform mountains which rise to two thousand 
feet above the plain, the heads may be nearly six thousand feet 
above sea level. It was evening when we rode from Ibn Jad : 
after two dark hours we found another of their nomad encamp- 
ments pitched under a berg of sandstone, whereupon (lightened 
by the many camp-fires,) appeared strangely flitting tent-great 
images of men and cattle. These were tents of Saidin Ho- 
weytat, Aarab of the Ghror, come up hither for the better 
spring pasture in their kinsman Ibn Jad's high country. There 
seemed much nakedness and little welfare amongst them. 
Remounting our camels we rode on that night ; the new day 
lightening I saw a coast before us, which is here the edge of 
J. Sherra. The sandstone earth under our feet is rusty and 
might be compared by rude men with the redness of blood, ed- 
dumm, which is this land's name Edom. 

Here we ascend from the red sandstone country, in the 
cragged Sherra side, which is clayey limestone with veins of 
tabular flint. An hour or two above are wide ruins, el-Better a, 
in an open valley cumbered with low waste walls of dry build- 
ing ; the principal with some columns are upon a rising ground. 
Beyond in the desert, are seen the heaps of stones, gathered from 
those once fruitful acres, by the diligence of the ancient hus- 
bandmen. For here were vine-lands and corn-lands, but " the 



DEPARTURE OF THE PILGRIMAGE FROM MAAN. 47 

land now keepeth her sabbaths." — The Syrian lark rose up with 
nickering wings from this desolate soil, singing before the sun ; 
but little on height and faltering soon, not in loud sweetness of 
warbles, nor in strength of flight as the sister bird in Europe. A 
light breath was in the wilderness ; and we were few miles distant 
from Maan. Now I saw a sorry landscape, the beginning upon 
this side of the Flint Ground, strewed (from an eternity,) in the 
sun and wind and which north and south may be fifty miles over : 
eastward from Maan it lasts a day and a half, and may be, nearly 
2500 square miles. We alighted in the first hollow ground to 
lurk till nightfall ; my companions, an Egyptian and a Beduin, 
durst not pass so open a landscape, whilst the sun shone, for the 
often danger of scouring Beduin horsemen. We removed in the 
twilight ; chill blew the fluttering night wind over these high 
wastes : about midnight we arrived at Maan. The place lay 
all silent in the night, we rode in at the ruinous open gateway 
and passed the inner gate, likewise open, to the suk : there 
we found benches of clay and spread our carpets upon them 
to lodge in the street. All Arabs are busy headed and fear- 
ful of thieves in a strange place ; they use to tie their bags 
before they sleep and lay any small things under their heads. 
Glad of our rest we lay down soon, as men which had not closed 
the eyes to slumber in three days and two nights tedious riding. 
A pitiful voice called to us bye and bye out of a dark entry ; my 
companions, too feverish with fatigue to sleep soon, started and 
answered again " Ent weled wala bint, Thou beest a lad or a 
maid ? " — There was none that answered, so they said " It is an 
afrit (bogle), by Ullah." It was not long before I heard this 
ghost by my bed's head ; sitting up I saw some squalid 
stealing figure that uttered I perceived not what ; which when I 
threatened, passed through a next doorway and seemed to shoot 
the lock, the door I could not tell again when the day dawned. 
I thought it might be some lunatic lad or squalid quean stalking 
by night ; and that is not unseen in the Arabic places. 

The pilgrim caravan lying at Maan, I lived in apprehension, 
knowing that the Pasha sought for me : the Persian aga had 
been called before the council, but he played the merchant and 
they could learn nothing from him. I was blithe to hear the 
second morning's signal shot ; it was eight of the clock when we 
removed again. The Persians march, as said, in the rear ; and 
we moving last up from our dismantled camping ground (the 
ninth from Muzeyrib) as I was about secretly reading the ane- 
roid, I was not aware how we came riding to a bevy of persons, 
that stood to observe us : these being my old acquaintance the 



4 8 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Kurdy captain of the place with his red beard, and beside 
him Mahmud the secretary. Perchance they were come out 
by order, to look for me. I perceived, I felt rather, that 
they noted me, but held on unmoved, not regarding them, 
and came by them also unhindered. They could not easily 
know me again, one of the multitude thus riding poorly and 
openly, clad in their guise and with none other than their own 
wares about me. 

It was in my former coming hither I heard certainly of Medain 
(cities of) Salih, of which also the villagers had spoken to me many 
marvellous things at Wady Musa, supposing that I arrived then 
from the southward by the haj road. Those " Cities " they said to 
be five, hewn likewise in the rocks ! Of Mahmud the secretary, 
a litterate person who had been there oftentimes, I learned more 
particularly of the inscriptions and images of birds in the frontis- 
pices ; and with those words Mahmud was the father of my 
painful travels in Arabia. Understanding that it was but 
ten marches distant, I sought then means to go down thither ; 
but the captain of the station thwarted me, alleging the peril 
— he might be blamed, if there anything mishappened to a 
foreigner — of the long way in lawless land of the Beduins. 
He forbade also that any in the obedience of the Dowla, 
should further or convey me thither. I heard much also 
among the Maan soldiery but lately returned from an expedition 
against Jauf, of a certain great prince whom they named Ibn 
Eashid, sultan or lord of the Beduin marches and of " sixty " date 
villages lying far inland, to the eastward. At Maan, under the 
climate of Jauf, are seen only few languishing palm stems, 
which stand but for an ornament of the earthen village. 
The plant may not thrive at this altitude ; yet it is rather that 
both the earth and the water here are sweet. — The ten journeys 
hence to Damascus may be passed by dromedary post-riders, 
(nearly without drawing halter) in three and a half days. 

As we marched a mirage lay low over the coal-black shining 
flint pebble-land before us, smelling warmly in the sun of southern- 
wood. There is no sign, upon the iron soil, of any way trod- 
den. The few seyls, as those at Maan, spend themselves shortly 
in the desert plain, which shelves, after my observation, eastward 
from the meridian of Maan. — Loud are the cries of poor fire- 
sellers by the wayside, to put a coal for money in the rich man's 
water-pipe ; Ullah mojud, wa habib-ak Mohammed en-Neby ! 
" God subsist ent ! and Thy beloved is the prophet Mohammed ! " 
After eight hours we came to our encampment, standing ready 
in the plain, a place they called Ghradir Umm Aydsh, — and 
every desert stead is named. 



LAND NAMES IN THE DESERT. 



49 



— Here a word of the camping grounds of Moses ; all their 
names we may never find again in these countries, — and where- 
fore ? Because they were a good part passengers' names, and 
without land-right they could not remain in the desert, in the 
room of the old herdsmen's names. There is yet another kind 
of names, not rightly of the country, not known to the Beduins, 
which are caravaners' names. The caravaners passing in haste, 
with fear of the nomads, know not the wide wilderness with- 
out their landmarks ; nor even in the way, have they a right 
knowledge of the land names. What wonder if we find not 
again some which are certainly caravaners' names in the old 
itineraries ! 




@® 




Sculptured ornaments upon building stones in ruinous sites of Moab. 



D. T. 



CHAPTER III. 



THE HAJ JOURNEYING IN ARABIA. 

Trooping gazelles. The brow of Arabia. Batn el-Grhrol. A fainting derwish. 
Pilgrim " martyrs." The Ghrol or Ogre of the desert. Iram. Nomads B. Atieh, 
or Maazy. " The maiden's bundle of money.'''' The art of travel. Desert Arabia. 
The Haj pilot. Camels faint. Rochet signals by night. Aspect of the Desert. 
Medowwara. Hallat Ammar. That Haj. The " wild Cow." Sherardt nomads 
(B. Mtiklib). The Persian pilgrims. Persian dames in the Haj. The pilgrims 
might ride in wagons. Mule litter marked with a Greek cross. Comparison with 
the Haj of " the thousands of Israel." The Mahmal. The motley hajjdj. The 
foot service. El-Eswad. The Muatterin. The massacre of Christians at Damascus. 
A discourse of the novices. The Haj camels. The takht er-R&m. Dying Persians 
carried in the camel-coaches. Pilgrimage of a lady deceased. Contradictions of 
the road. Camel-back muetthins. Persian hajjies, for defiling Mohammed's grave, 
burned at Medina. The Caravan thief. The imperial secretary. The Pasha. 
Pilgrim dogs from Syria. A cock on pilgrimage. Coursing desert hares. The 
thob. El-Kd. Night march to TebUk. The ancient village. The Pidpit 
mountain. The villagers. The Pasha paymaster. The story of his life. The 
game of the road. The Harra. El-Akhdar station. The Siveyfly. Visit 'the 
kella. The Kddy's garden. W. es-Sdny. The " bear." Moaddam station. 
Water is scant. Gum-arabic tree. Ddr el-Hamra station. Cholera year in the 
Haj. A man returned from his grave to Damascus. Abu Tdka. MUbrak en-Ndga. 
The miraculous camel. A cry among the Haj. 

Three and a half hours after midnight we departed from this 
station : — from henceforth begin the great journeys of the Haj in 
Arabia. Little before day at a gunshot in front the caravan 
halted, and whilst we rested half an hour the great ones drink 
coffee. Two hours above the Akaba before us is a site, Khan 
ez-Zebib ; Mohammed Said Pasha in the last returning Haj, 
riding out upon his mare in advance of the caravan, (the 
Arabian spring already beginning), here lighted upon a great 
assembling of gazelles and killed with his pistol shots so many 
that venison was served that evening in all the great haj officers' 



THE ARAB A 



5i 



pavilions. We approached at noon the edge of the high lime- 
stone platform of J. Sherra, Masharif es-Shem of the old 
Mohammedan bookmen, " The brow of Syria or the North." 
And below begins Arabia proper, Beled el-Aarab : — but these 
are distinctions not known to the Beduish inhabitants. 

The haj road descending lies in an hollow ground, as it were 
the head of a coomb, of sharp shelves of plate-flint and limestone. 
We are about to go down into the sandstones, — whereof are 
the most sands of Arabia. A ruinous kella and cistern are here 
upon our left hand. The caravan column being come to the 
head of the strait passage, we are delayed in the rear thirty 
minutes. The caravaners call such a place Akaba, " A going 
up " ; this is named the Syrian or northern, es-Shemiya. I found 
here the altitude 4135 feet. Upon a rock which first straitens 
our descending way was seated, under a white parasol, the 
Pasha himself and his great officers were with him : for here on 
the 24th of November we met again the blissful sunshine and the 
summer not yet ended in Arabia. The caravan lines are very 
loose, and long drawn out in the steep, which is somewhat en- 
cumbered with rocks above. As the camels may hardly pass two 
and two together the Pasha sees here at leisure the muster of the 
hajjaj slowly passing ; the pilgrims have alighted from the cradle- 
litters and their beasts' backs and all fare on foot. My unlucky new 
camel, which had been purchased from the Beduins at Maan and 
not broken to this marching, tied, burst her leading-string at the 
Pasha's feet, which made a little confusion and I must run to bring 
all in order again. But I was confident, although he had seen me 
in Arabic clothing at Damascus, that he should not now know me. 
The Akaba is long and, past the Pasha's seat, of little difficulty. 
The Beduins name this going-down Batn el-Ghrol, ' belly (hollow 
ground) of the Ogre ' or else ' strangling place,' fen yughrulun 
ez-zillamy ; a sink of desolation amongst these rusty ruins 
of sandstone droughty mountains, full of eternal silence and 
where we see not anything that bears life. The Akaba is 
not very deep, in the end I found, where the pilgrims re- 
mounted, that we were come down hardly 250 feet. The length 
of the caravan was here nearly an hour and there was no 
mishap. Camels at a descent, with so unwieldy fore-limbs 
are wooden riding ; the lumpish brutes, unless it be the more 
fresh and willing, let themselves plumb down, with stiff joints, 
to every lower step. These inhospitable horrid sandstones re- 
semble the wasting sandstone mountains about Sherm in Sinai. 

Below we are upon a sand bottom, at either hand is a wall of 
sand-rock, the long open passage between them descends as a 
valley before us. Upon the left hand, the crags above are 

4—2 



52 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

crusted with a blackish shale-stone, which is also fallen down to 
the foot, where the black shingles lie in heaps shining in the sun 
and burnished by the desert driving sand. This is the edge of 
a small lava-field or harra : I had seen also erupted basalt 
rock in the descent of the Akaba. After three miles the way- 
issues from the strait mountains and we march upon a large 
plain Debibat es-Shem, Ard Jiddar, of sand ; heavy it is to 
handle and oozing through the ringers. Few miles from the 
road upon our right hand are cloud-like strange wasted ranges 
of the desolate Hisma. 

I saw one fallen in the sand, half sitting half lying upon 
his hands. This was a religious mendicant, some miserable 
derwish in his clouted beggar's cloak, who groaned in extremity, 
holding forth his hands like eagles' claws to man's pity. Last in 
the long train, we went also marching by him. His beggar's 
scrip, full of broken morsels fallen from his neck, was poured 
out before him. The wretch lamented to the slow moving lines 
of the Mecca-bound pilgrimage : the many had passed on, and 
doubtless as they saw his dying, hoped inwardly the like evil 
ending might not be their own. Some charitable serving men, 
Damascenes, in our company, stepped aside to him ; ana meyet, 
sobbed the derwish, I am a dying man. One then of our 
crew, he was also my servant, a valiant outlaw, no holy- 
tongue man but of human deeds, with a manly heartening 
word, couched, by, an empty camel, and with a spring of his 
stalwart arms, lifted and set him fairly upon the pack saddle. 
The dying derwish gave a weak cry much like a child, and 
hastily they raised the camel under him and gathered his 
bag of scattered victuals and reached it to him, who sat 
all feeble murmuring thankfulness, and trembling yet for fear. 
There is no ambulance service with the barbarous pilgrim 
army ; and all charity is cold, in the great and terrible wilderness, 
of that wayworn suffering multitude. 

After this there died some daily in the caravan : the deceased's 
goods are sealed, his wayfellows in the night station wash and 
shroud the body and lay in a shallow grave digged with their 
hands, and will set him up some wild headstone by the desert road 
side. They call any pilgrims so dying in the path of their religion, 
shahud, martyrs. But the lonely indigent man, and without suc- 
cour, who falls in the empty wilderness, he is desolate indeed. 
When the great convoy is passed from him, and he is forsaken of i 
all mankind, if any Beduw find him fainting, it is but likely they 
will strip him, seeing he is not yet dead. The dead corses unburied 
are devoured by hyenas which follow the ill odour of the caravan. 
There is little mercy in those Ageyl which ride after ; none upon , 



THE OGRE. 53 

the road, will do a gentle deed " but for silver." — If we have lived 
well, we would fain die in peace ; we ask it, a reward, of God, 
in the kind presence of our friends ! — There are fainting ones 
left behind in every year's pilgrimage ; men of an old fibre 
and ill-complexion, their hope was in Ullah, but they living 
by the long way only of unwilling men's alms, cannot achieve 
this extreme journey to Mecca. The fallen man, advanced in 
years, had never perhaps eaten his fill, in the Haj, and above two 
hundred miles were passed under his soles since Muzeyrib. How 
great is that yearly suffering and sacrifice of human flesh, and 
all lost labour, for a vain opinion, a little salt of science would 
dissolve all their religion ! Yet, I understood, there is some pious 
foundation remaining from the old Ottoman Sultans, to send every 
year a certain number of poor derwishes with carriage and pro- 
vision to the holy places. A camel and water-skin is allotted to 
two or three derwishes, and a tent for every companionship of 
them. They are few altogether ; or men, " wearers of rough 
garments," ranters with long-grown locks, and " mad-fellows," 
would run from all the town-ends to the almoner at Damascus ; 
to have themselves enrolled of the sons of the prophets, with the 
poor beggars : it is so pleasant for this religious people to find a 
shift for themselves in any other than their own purses. It 
was told me the Haj of old were wont to descend not by the 
Akaba but by another steep at the south-westward, where the 
seyl waters flow down from J. Sherra. This is Jidddr ; one 
said, who knew, * it is so easy that a coach road might be 
made there.' 

The ghrol or ghrul is a monster of the desert in which 
children and women believe and men also. And since no 
man, but Philemon, lived a day fewer for laughing, have here 
the portraiture of this creature of the Creator, limned by a 
nomad : ' a cyclops' eye set in the midst of her human-like 
head, long beak of jaws, in the ends one or two great sharp 
tushes, long neck ; her arms like chickens' fledgling wings, the 
fingers of her hands not divided ; the body big as a camel's, but 
in shape as the ostrich ; the sex is only feminine, she has a foot 
as the ass' hoof, and a foot as an ostrich. She entices passengers, 
calling to them over the waste by their names, so that they 
think it is their own mother's or their sister's voice.' He 
had seen this beast, ' which is of Jin kind, lie dead upon the 
land upon a time when he rode with a foray in the Jeheyna 
marches ; but there was none of them durst touch her.' He 
swore me, with a great oath, his tale was truth ' by the 
life of Ullah and by his son's life.' He was a poor desert man, 
one Doolan, at Medain Salih, noted to be a fabler. The aga of the 



54 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

kella believed not his talk, but answered for himself " It is true, 
nevertheless, that there is a monstrous creature which has been 
oft seen in these parts nearly like the ghrul, they call it Salewwa. 
This salewwa is like a woman, only she has hoof -feet as the ass." 
Many persons had sworn to him, upon their religion, they had seen 
salewwas, and he knew fifteen tribesmen which had seen her at 
once. Again, " a great ghrazzu, eighty men of the Sherarat, 




The Ghrol ; drawn by Doolan the Fehjy at el-HeJr. 

saw her as they alighted in an evening, but when their bullets 
might not do her scathe ; they took up firebrands to beat the 
woman-fiend, and they beat on her all that night." 

Few miles westward of the road, I hear to be a site of consider- 
able ruins, Ayina, there are seen many ancient pillars. In that 
place are springs, and there grows much of the tamarisk kind 
ghrotiha. Ayina is a summer water station of the Beduins, and 
the rocks are written full of their wasms. According to Sprenger's 
researches, whose learned work Die alte Geographic Arabiens, was 
my enchiridion in these travels, Iram might be nearly in this 
circuit, " the city of columns, the terrestrial paradise." Further in 



THE MAIDEN'S BUNDLE OF MONEY. 55 

Hisma, a little south of the midway between Maan and Akaba, is 
a ruined site Khurbet er-Bumm, at a great spring of water, with 
good wilderness soil about ; also in that place are fallen columns. 

We came in the evening twilight to our encampment. Here 
are the nomad marches of the B. Atieh tribesmen, which are 
called in the parts towards Egypt, after their patriarch, el-Maazy : 
Maaz is brother of Anaz, patriarch of the Annezy (the signifi- 
cation is goat, in both their names). A part of the Maazy 
nation is strangely dispersed beyond the Bed Sea, they inhabit 
now those deserts over against Sinai named by the Arabs " Welsh 
Country," Burr el-Ajam, or of men speaking outlandish language, 
that is the great continent of Africa. There are in the ages many 
like separations and dispersions of the wandering tribes, and 
it is told of some far emigrated, that they had forgotten at length 
the soil from whence they sprung, but not the name of their 
patriarch, and by their wasm which remained they were known ! 

The B. Atieh receive surra of the Haj administration for 
all kellas in the desert passage from hence down to Tebuk. The 
surra (every year the same sum is distributed) is paid to the 
sheykhs after their dignities, whose names are written in the 
roll of the treasurer at Damascus. It is almost incredible how 
the soul of these Semites is bound up with the prey of pennies, 
which they have gotten without labour ; therefore the pasha- 
general of the pilgrimage had needs be a resolute man of great 
Asiatic prudence, that is foxes' sleight with weighty courage 
(and such are plants of a strong fibre, which grow up out of the 
Oriental dunghill), to conduct his caravan through all ad- 
ventures of the hot-hearted Beduins, in so long a way of the 
wilderness to the sacred cities. It is told how these tribesmen 
had, a score of years before, fallen upon the Haj at unawares 
so vehemently that they beat off the guard and seized many 
hundreds at once of the haj camels with their loads. The 
thing happened for a small displeasure, surrat el-bint " the 
maiden's bundle of money." The pasha-paymaster in that 
Haj giving out to the assembled sheykhs, at their station, the 
pensions of silver, presents of clothing and utensils, had denied 
them that which fell to her father's name, when he ascertained 
that the man had been dead a year or two, and his decease 
was hidden by fraud of Beduins. The good which was paid 
out for him in those years came to his orphan girl ; the fault 
now discovered, yet the kinsmen loudly claimed " the girl's due " ; 
her father had been nearly the last in the line of sheykhs, his 
surra was only six crowns. Of this the greedy and iniquitous 
Aarab caught occasion to set upon the caravan, and in that as if 
the pilgrim townsmen had been their capital enemies, killed 



56 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A, 

some innocent persons. — Here is the sub-tribe el-Ageyldt which 
are haj carriers between Maan and Tebuk. 

And now come down to Arabia, we are passed from known 
landmarks. Two chiefly are the perils in Arabia, famine and 
the dreadful-faced harpy of their religion, a third is the rash 
weapon of every Ishmaelite robber. The traveller must be him- 
self, in men's eyes, a man worthy to live under the bent of God's 
heaven, and were it without a religion : he is such who has a 
■clean human heart and long-sufTering under his bare shirt ; it is 
enough, and though the way be full of harms, he may travel to 
the ends of the world. Here is a dead land, whence, if he die 
not, he shall bring home nothing but a perpetual weariness 
in his bones. The Semites are like to a man sitting in a 
cloaca to the eyes, and whose brows touch heaven. Of the great 
antique humanity of the Semitic desert, there is a moment in 
every adventure, wherein a man may find to make his peace 
with them, so he know the Arabs. The sour Wahaby fanati- 
cism has in these days cruddled the hearts of the nomads, but 
every Beduin tent is sanctuary in the land of Ishmael (so there 
be not in it some cursed Jael). If the outlandish person come 
alone to strange nomad booths, let him approach boldly, and 
they will receive him. It is much if they heard of thee any 
good report ; and all the Arabs are at the beginning appeased 
with fair words. The oases villages are more dangerous ; Beduin 
colonies at first, they have corrupted the ancient tradition 
of the desert ; their souls are canker- weed beds of fanaticism. — 
As for me who write, I pray that nothing be looked for in 
this book but the seeing of an hungry man and the telling of 
a most weary man ; for the rest the sun made me an Arab, 
but never warped me to Orientalism. Highland Arabia is 
not all sand ; it is dry earth, nearly without sprinkling of the 
rains. All the soft is sandy ; besides there is rocky moorland 
and much harsh gravel, where the desolate soil is blown naked 
by the secular winds. The belts of deep sand country and 
borders about the mountain sandstones, which are called Nefuds, 
are perhaps of kin with those named, in England, " greensands." 
Commonly the Arabian desert is an extreme desolation where the 
herb is not apparent for the sufiiciency of any creature. In a 
parcel of desert earth great as an house floor, you shall find not 
many blades and hardly some one of the desert bushes, of which 
the two-third parts are no cattle-meat but quite waste and 
naught. 

There is after Maan no appearance of a trodden haj road 
in the wilderness, all is sea-room and our course is held by 
landmarks : but there is much natural way in hollow ground 



THE LOjDESMAN OF THE HAJ. 57 

between Akaba and Mecca. Seldom I saw this ancient caravan 
path marked by any beacon of heaped stones, as it is by Maan 
and in the branching of the Wady 'el-Akhdar. There is one, 
Dalil el-haj, who guides the pilgrimage, day and night, those 
nearly nine hundred miles from Muzeyrib down to Mecca. 
This landcraft master was a Damascene, who had been yearly in 
this passage from his youth : a townsman is appointed to this 
office, they will trust the Haj conduct to no Beduins. I saw not 
anywhere the reported strewed skeletons of camels nor mounds 
of sand blown upon their fallen carcases. The Arabs are too 
poor so to lose cattle ; but these and the like, are tales rather 
of an European Orientalism than with much resemblance to 
the common experience. The Haj from Syria is the most 
considerable desert caravan of the Eastern world. There 
faint always some camels which have thinner soles, when these 
are worn to the quick, in the length of so great a journey. 
Any such bleeding-footed beast is sold for few crowns to the 
Beduins, and after some weeks' rest may be again a good camel ; 
but if there be no buyers at hand and he must needs be 
abandoned, they cut the throat in haste, to take his skin, and go 
forward. The hyena, the wolf, the fox, which follow the camp, 
finding this meat, the carcase is rent and the bones will be 
scattered. I have never seen any frame of bones lying in the 
desert or buried by the sand-driving wind, which blows lightly 
and only seldom in inner Arabia. 

After Maan there is no rest for the Haj but day and night 
marches, and we departed at three and a half hours after mid- 
night. At day-break we saw a rocket shot up in the van, for the 
halt to prayers and to rest ourselves a half-hour : all alighting, 
the most lie down upon the earth ; our backs are broken by the 
long camel riding. The camels, which cannot be unloaded, stand 
one behind another in every company, all tied, for less labour of 
driving, which is the caravaners' manner, but not that of the 
Beduins. We are in a sand plain shelving before us but not 
sensibly ; westward continually, a few miles from the road, are the 
ruinous Hisma mountain skirts, showing by their forms to be sand- 
stones. Upon the other hand are like-shaped low heights much 
more distant, in the Sherarat nomad country, also trending with 
the road. Under our feet is fine sand, in which for jollity, that 
we are come so far in the sacred way, the young Damascus serving 
men wallowed and flung one over other ; and sometimes the soil 
is a flaggy pavement of sandstones, rippled in the strand of those 
old planetary seas. An hour before the mid-day we ascended 
three miles through a low girdle of rocky sand-stones, which is a 
train from Hisma, and went down to pitch in the plain before 



5 8 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

the kellat Medowwara, where we came to water. The place 
lies very desolate ; the fort is built at a spring, defended now by 
a vault from the Beduins' hostility. We felt the noon here very 
sultry and the sun glancing again from the sand we were between 
two heats. 

At our right-hand is a part of the desert fabulously named 
by the pilgrims Hallat Ammar, where of old they say stood a 
city. Ammar was a mukowwem in the Haj,who going thither 
to seek his provision of water in an extreme deadly heat, 
found naught at all but steaming ground and smoke. Others 
say better, " Hallat el- Ammar is at the cragged passage between 
Medowwara and Dzat (That el-) Haj ; where, the pilgrimage 
journeying, the flaming summer heat dried up the oozing water- 
skins, which seemed to vapour into smoke and the caravan 
perished." Upon the rocks hereabout some told me they had 
seen inscriptions. At six on the morrow, ascending from that 
belt of low sandstone hills, we marched anew upon the plain 
of shallow sliding sand. The sun rising I saw the first green- 
ness of plants, since the brow of Akaba. We pass a gravel of 
fine quartz pebbles ; these are from the wasted sand-rock. Fair 
was the Arabian heaven above us, the sunny air was soon 
sultry. We mounted an hour or two in another cross-train 
of sand-rocks and iron-stone : at four afternoon we came 
to our tents, pitched by a barren thicket of palms grown wild ; 
and in that sandy bottom is much growth of desert bushes, signs 
that the ground water of the Hisma lies not far under. Here 
wandered already the browsing troops of those nomads' camels 
which followed with the caravan. In this green place, pleasant 
to Damascus eyes, stands the kella of good building with an 
orchard of tall palms, That-Haj, in the Beduins' talk el-Haj. 
There are goodly vaulted cisterns of masonry, but only in a 
lesser one of them was there stored water for the hajjaj, by 
so much is this pilgrimage diminished from its ancient glory. 
The water runs in from a spring at little distance ; the taste is 
sulphurous. Surra is paid to the Robilldt, a kindred of Beny 
Atieh. It was told me that the waters of J. Sherra seyl down 
hither ; — believe it who will ! After the heat by day we found 
the late night hours chilly. On the morrow very early the 
waits came about again with the old refrain bes-salaamy : they 
reckon at this station a third part accomplished of the long way 
to Mecca. 

At six we set forward, a great journey lay before us, the 
desert soil is harder sand and hard ground, now with drift 
of vulcanic pebbles. Westward, we see ever the same mountainous 
Hisma coast, and eastward the same Sherarat sandstone hills. In 



THE WILD COW. 59 

that country is found the " wild cow," a creature hitherto un- 
known in Europe ; it is an antelope. They company two and 
three together, and run most swiftly in the waterless sand plains 
where they never drink. The garrison at el-Haj bred up one 
of them which had been taken by nomads, and this when 
I was formerly at Maan, I might have purchased for ten pounds. 
I heard later that the beautiful creature had been carried up 
in the next Haj, caged in a mule litter, to Damascus, and sent 
thence to Constantinople, a present from the imperial officer of 
the pilgrimage to the Sultan Abd el-Aziz. — The Sherarat 
are the Beny Muklib of the Beduin poets. The Sherarat are 
not named, they have told me themselves, with any regard of 
J. Sherra. 

We rode through the hot day, bowing at each long stalking 
pace upon the necks of our camels, making fifty prostrations 
in every minute whether we would or no, towards Mecca. The 
Persian pilgrims about me, riding upon camels, were near seven 
hundred ; peasants for the most part, as the richer and delicate 
livers are ever less zealous to seek hallows than poor bodies 
with small consolation in this world. Girded they are in 
wadmel coats, falling below the knee, and thereunder wide 
cotton slops ; upon their heads are high furred caps as the 
Sclavonians. I heard that such an " honour of his head " may 
cost a poor man three pound. The welfaring bear with them 
a shaggy black mantle, woven of very fine and long goat's hair 
or wool. These men, often red-bearded and red dye-beards, of 
a gentle behaviour, much resemble, in another religion, the 
Muscovite Easter pilgrims to Jerusalem. And these likewise 
lay up devoutly of their slender thrift for many years before, 
that they may once weary their lives in this great religious 
voyage. Part are gazers also, that come far about to visit 
the western cities, el-mudden. I was certainly assured that 
there rode some amongst them whose homesteads lay in the 
most backward mountains of Persia, and that ascending and 
descending the sharp coasts they marched first three months 
in their own difficult country • so they have nearly twelve 
months' journey from the setting out to the Holy City. A 
client of the Persian aga, who conducted for him upon that 
side to Damascus and spoke willingly as being my patient, told 
me he was himself every year eleven in the twelve months footing 
upon the great road. When I asked how could he endure, he 
answered as a Moslem " Ullah ! " my sufficiency is of God. A 
pined and jaded man he was before his middle days, and un- 
likely to live to full age. Better his mother had been barren, 
than that her womb should have borne such a sorry travailous 



60 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

life ! The Persian pilgrims are shod with the best wayfarer's 
sole, it is crimpled folds of cotton compacted finger-high, light 
and easy treading under the feet, and will outlast sole-leather. 
They are civil and ingenious (so is not the Semitic nomad race) ; 
but of a cankered ingenuity in the religion, sinners against 
the world and their own souls. If but thy shadow pass over 
their dish it is polluted meat, they eat not of it, neither 
willingly eat they with any catholic Moslem, an observer of the 
Sunna (the Mohammedan Talmud or canonical tradition). A 
metal ewer for water hangs at all their saddles, with which they 
upon every occasion go superstitiously apart to perform certain 
loathsome washings. 

Upon a great haj camel rides but one person with his stuffed 
carpet bags, wherein, besides his provision, is commonly some 
merchandise for the holy fair at Mecca. I hear they use no 
camels in their own country, where there is much water in the 
mountain ways, but ride upon mules. A few in the great 
marches, which were clerks, took out their parchment written 
prayer-books, in which (as the orientals read) they chanted 
their devotion, becking the miles along, in the uneasy camel 
saddle, toward the holy places. I saw among them a woman, 
a negress, serving some ghastly Persian dames, clad as if they 
went to a funeral, which were borne in a litter before us, and a 
child was with them. Besides them I remember not to have 
seen women and little ones in the caravan. From Damascus 
there are many pious women pilgrims to Mecca, but now for 
the most part they take the sea to Jidda ; the land voyage is 
too hard for them, and costly for their families ; and he is 
mocked in the raw Haj proverbs that will lead his querulous 
hareem on pilgrimage. Nevertheless the Haj Pasha will have 
sometimes with him a pious housewife or twain. Their aching 
is less which are borne lying along in covered litters, although 
the long stooping camel's gait is never not very uneasy. Also 
many pairs of cradle litters are borne upon mule-back, which is 
good riding, and even upon pack-horses. 

We should think that if this people were in their minds, they 
might ride with all their things about them in covered wagons, 
as some sheykhs of Israel went so long ago wandering in the 
wilderness. All the way is plain, even the Akaba were not too dif- 
ficult, where later the Jurdy descend with a brass field-cannon 
of five inches upon wheels ; — but it is not usage ! The Damascus 
litter is commonly a cradle-like frame with its tilt for one person, 
two such being laid in balance upon a beast's back ; others are 
pairs housed in together like a bedstead under one gay canvas 
awning. Swinging upon a stout mule's back, I saw one such every 






THE MAHMAL CAMEL. 61 



day little before us, whereupon a good Greek cross of red stuff 
was embroidered, whether a charm or an ornament. Sometimes 
Mohammedan women will sew a cross upon their lunatic or sick 
children's clothing and have them christened by the Greek priest 
for a charm and even be sprinkled themselves, (for fecundity !) 
and superstitiously drink holy water. Of the Persian folk a few 
which could be freer spenders came riding with their burning 
water-pipes, of the sweet Persian tombac, in the Damascene 
cradles. Greater ones were a mitred fellowship of two or three 
withered Persian lordlings for whom was pitched a wide pavilion 
in the stations : but for that little I met with them, I could 
imagine the solemn Persian gentlemen to be the most bad 
hearted dunghill souls of all nations. Our aga and his son 
came little behind them in the Persian birth of their minds, 
save that leading their lives in Damascus, they were pleasant 
smilers as the Arabs. 

The breadth of our slow marching motley lines, in the plains, 
might be an hundred paces. What may we think of the caravan 
of Moses ? if we should reckon all Israel at 2,500,000 souls and 
four camels abreast, which, according to my observation, is more 
than might commonly pass in the strait valleys of Sinai en- 
cumbered with fallen quarters of rocks. The convoy of Israel 
should be four hundred times this Haj train or more than two 
hundred leagues long ; and from the pillar of cloud or fire to the 
last footman of Jacob would be more journeys than in the longest 
month of the year ! But what of their beasts in all that horrid 
labyrinth? and suppose their camels to be 3,000,000 to 6,000,000 
and all their small cattle 7,000,000 ; they had besides oxen and 
asses ! Can we think that Sinai, which is the sorriest of all desert 
pastures, could bear them, or that there were enough for three 
days to feed such a multitude of cattle ? 

I might sometimes see heaving and rolling above all heads of 
men and cattle in the midst of the journeying caravan, the naked 
frame and posts of the sacred Mahmal camel which resembles a 
bedstead and is after the fashion of the Beduish woman's camel- 
litter. It is clothed on high days with a glorious pall of green 
velvet, the prophet's colour, and the four posts are crowned with 
glancing knops of silver. I understand from grave elders of 
the religion, that this litter is the standard of the Haj, in the 
antique guise of Arabia, and yet remaining among the Beduw ; 
wherein, at any general battle of tribes, there is mounted 
some beautiful damsel of the sheykhs' daughters, whose generous 
loud Alleluias for her people, in presence of their enemies, 
inflame her young kinsmen's hearts to leap in that martial 
dance to a multitude of deaths. In this standard litter of the 



62 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Haj is laid eth-thob, the gift of the Sultan of Islam, that new 
silken cloth, which is for the covering of the Kaaba at Mecca, 
whereof " Abraham was the founder." I saw this frame in the 
stations, set down before the Pasha's pavilion : I saw also 
carried in our caravan a pair of long coffers in which were 
mast-great tapers for the shrine of Mohammed. And looking 
upon the holy Hajjaj it is a motley army, spotted guile is 
in their Asiatic hearts more than religion ; of the fellowship of 
saints in the earth are only few in their company. A wonder it 
was to me to see how the serving men, many of them of citizen 
callings, in which at home they sit still, can foot it forty days long 
to Mecca and Mona. Water is scant and commonly of the worst ; 
and these Syrians dwelling in a limestone country are used 
to be great drinkers of the purest water. Marching all day they 
hardly taste food but in the night stations, where they boil 
themselves a great mess of wheaten stuff ; they seldom buy 
flesh meati with money out of their slender purses. But after 
the proverb, men know not all their sufferance but in the 
endeavour, also we may endure the better in company. There 
a,re very few who faint ; the Semitic nature, weak and quick 
metal, is also of a wonderful temper and long suffering in God. 
And every soul would hallow himself (even though he be by 
man's law a criminal) in seeking M God's house " : in returning 
again the sweet meditation upholds a man of seeing his home, 
his family, his friends. 

The salary of a footman driver is about £8 English money to 
Mecca ; but since good part of the pilgrimage will go home by 
ship, the many dismissed servants must seek a new shift for them- 
selves in returning upward. In our company of a score most 
of the lads were novices : the mukowwems are fain of such 
ghrasMm, or raw haj prentices which serve them without wages, 
receiving only the carriage of their food and water. But the 
foremen are every year in the Haj, and of this voyage is most of 
their living : besides there are many whom their old pain so 
enamours of the sacred way, that they will fare anew and cannot 
forsake it. And though the akkams be reputed wild and 
rude, yet amongst our crew but one and another were brutish lads, 
and the rest poor young men of Damascus, commonly of an honest 
behaviour. Their rayis or head received double money, or £16 
English : this was a wayworn man, one Abu Rashid a patten- 
maker, lean as any rake. Two-thirds part of the year he sat at 
home in their suk, under the great cathedral mosque at Damas- 
cus : but the haj month come about (whereto their lent month 
last before, filling the body with crude humours, is but an evil 
preparation) he forsook all, and trudging four months re 






THE MUATTERIN. 63 

visited the blissful Harameyn and brought again of that 
purgatory of fatigues a little money, to the sustenance of 
his honest family. Second of our skilled hands was the 
akkam who served me ; one of those wild and well-bent hearts 
of strong men that lean, by humanity of nature, to the 
good, but which betrayed by some rheum that is in them of a 
criminal rashness, are sooner drawn to evil ways in the 
world. His companions called him el-Eswad for his generous 
brown colour, yet which they hold for a deformity. He was of 
the dangerous fellowships at Damascus called the Muatterin ; 
men commonly of hardy complexion and overflowing strength, 
who look to help their loose living by violence. Few years be- 
fore having been drawn in the conscription he deserted, and since 
travelled up and down out of sight of the law, and even sailed 
hither and thither by sea ; now he lived secretly at Damascus, 
an herb gatherer. Eswad had £12 of the mukowwem to Mecca : 
there is no seeking for outlaws and evil doers in the Haj caravan. 
All the Damascene servants in our Persian company knew 
me to be a Nasrany ; and contained their gossiping tongues, 
less of good will than that we were divided by the Persian 
multitude from the next companies of the Arabic language. 
As ever our two misliving rufflers barked upon me, which was 
hour by hour, Eswad snibbed them sharply with fen dinak, 

* where is thy faith ? ' Nimbly upon the way he trode and up- 
right as a wand ruling a camel-coach litter with undaunted 
strength. In the great marches I alighted to walk some miles 
that he might ride and rest awhile in my stead. The Arabs full 
of their own vanities, are impatient of a stranger's contradiction, 
and if sometime the fanatical persuasion, where every heart 
is full of pain and unrest of the road, had made him nettlesome 
with the Nasrany, I said to him " What will Abu Saad think 
upon it ! " This was a poor man of good estimation, a penitent 
father of muatters and by adventure of my acquaintance at 
Damascus : it chanced also he was Eswad's own master, so that he 
named him father ; one in whom the old violence seemed to be 
now mollified to religion, with devout fasting twice in the week. 
But Abu Saad, with some of the old leaven, yet vaunted 

* the muatters were sore a-dread of him ' : Eswad looked 
upon me and was silent when I had named him. I knew 
the man as a client of a Christian Damascus family. In that 
massacre of Christians, now many years gone, one of the 
household as he hasted by the street, was beset at a corner by 
murderous Moslems who cried with one breath, " Out upon 
a Nasrany and kill him." And the trembling man might have 
come then by his death, but he thought upon a wile ; he 



64 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

touched one amongst those fiendly white turbans and, not 
knowing him, said to him ana dakhil-ak " I am thy sup- 
pliant." The valiant muatter, thinking his honour engaged, 
plucked out the old horse-pistol in his belt, for all men were 
now in the streets with their arms, and bit it between his teeth. 
Then he heaved the Christian high upon his back, and bade men 
give him way or he would make one ; and he staggered forth 
as the Christian load showed him, until he set him down at the 
door of his own house. That family was saved, and now Abu 
Saad names them ' his brethren of the Nasara' ; he visits them 
and they kindly entertain him some months in the year in their 
houses. He is a carrier of quarried stones, and they of their 
welfare bestow upon him at all times for his needs. 

Many were the examples of Christians in that mortal ex- 
tremity succoured by pitiful men of the Mohammedan poor 
people, for no hope of reward ; but only as they were taught of 
God and human kindness, especially in the open village quarter 
and trading with the Beduish country, el-Medan, among whose 
citizens is a savour of the venerable spirit of the Semitic desert. 
Some then piously took up poor Christian children in the ways, 
where they met with them, and kept them in covert in their 
own houses. The rich booty of the burning streets of Christian 
houses was soon too hot in the handling of rude Moslems ; all 
the best was sold, even jewels and gold, for a little ready money 
to the Jews, fain of the abominable lucre and foxes to keep 
these bloody stealths close. Also I have heard the Mohammedans 
complain " by Ullah all we did, we did it for the Yahud (Jews), 
the Yahud made the Moslemin fools ! " Even certain considerable 
Christians which were saved, are said to have then enriched 
themselves of other poor Nasarenes' goods, carried for safety 
into their principal houses, when the owners having been slain 
there remained no record of the place of deposit ; for all gape in 
these Turkish countries to swallow other, even their own kind. 
Another of our lads was a bathier in the hammam by the Persian 
consulate, but man enough to step down three hundred leagues to 
Mecca ; and one was a miller's knave at Bab Tooma in the Chris- 
tian quarter ; and one of Hums (Emesa) a great town towards 
Aleppo : he fleered and laughed all the way as he went. " It is 
a fool (said the companions) all the Humsians are alike sick of 
a devil." Of the other novices was one of an honourable mind 
and erect stature ; no pains of the road could ever move him 
from a gentle virtuous demeanour. One day in a resting-while 
the son of the Persian aga said amongst them " What think 
ye of the^ Nasara ? theirs is a good religion men say, and they 
worship Isa (Jesu) as we Mohammed and the Jews Musa; who 






A NOVICE'S NOBLE WORD. 65 

may say that their religion is not well enough, or that we have 
a better ? would ye change religions for a reward and cease 
to be Moslemin ? Would some man give me now a thousand 
pound in my hand, I doubt whether I would not consent to 
be of their religion." That novice spoke then a noble word ; " I 
would not, said he, be divided from the Keligion for any world's 
good, for ed-dinnia fany, the world fadeth away." " Khalil 
Effendi," said the young Persian Damascene ; " if you will come 
over to our religion, go down now with us .to Mecca and we will 
show thee all the holy places, and this were better for thee 
than to leave the caravan at Medain Salih, where by God the 
Beduw will cut thy throat as ever the Haj shall be gone by them." 
I enquired what nomads were those at Medain Salih : it was 
answered " The Fukara, which according with their name (fakir, 
a poor man, a derwish) are liker gipsies than Beduins ; they 
are so thievish we fear them more than other upon the road ; 
by the life of God they are the worst of the Beduw. Be not so 
foolhardy to trust thyself among them : but go to the kella and 
there lodge, and the Pasha will bind the soldiery for thy safety 
until the returning Haj." 

The great haj camels, unlike the small Beduin cattle, 
(which live only of that they may find in the dry desert,) 
browse nothing on the road ; they are fed at the halts, as in 
Syria, with boiled pulse, wrought into clots of which four or 
five or six are crammed into the great weary beasts' jaws, 
and satisfy that frugal stomach. The masters buy also at some 
desert stations a long knot-grass forage, thurrm, of certain 
poor nomads (not Beduins), which their camels chaw in the 
hours of repose. They are couched then in rows, their halters 
running upon a ground-rope stretched between iron pins. Those 
rasmj novices marching with us were taken for side-men, under 
the rayis and Eswad, of the two takhts er-Rum or camel-coaches, 
in the equipage of the Persian aga, which are borne in such 
sort that each is suspended by the four shafts, between the 
withers of a fore and the shoulders of an after camel. By every 
shaft there goes a lad, and in the midst a lad, upon both sides, 
six for a takht. Where the wild road is unequal, with the 
strength of their arms, they rule the sway of this high uneasy 
carriage. The takhts are gallantly painted and adorned, there is 
room in them that a man may lie at his length or sit up. The 
Pasha and a few rich men ride to Mecca in such vehicles, 
at great charges : and therefore I wondered to see these of the 
Ajamy carried empty, but el-Eswad told me, he has therefore 
a yearly exhibition from his government ; also I should soon 
see some conveyed in them : for if any poor man sickened to death 

d. t. 5 



66 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

in the company, he would pay the one hundred piastres of daily 
hire to ride like a lord in the few hours that remained for him 
to live. Upon the bearing harness of the takht camels are 
shields of scarlet, full of mirrors, with crests of ostrich plumes, 
and beset with ranks of little bells, which at each slow camel's 
foot-fall jingle, sinking together, with a strange solemnity ; it is 
the sound of the Haj religion wonderfully quaint and very little 
grateful in my hearing. The hind camel paces very unhand- 
somely, for that he may not put his muzzle through the glass 
panel, his head and huge long neck is drawn down under the 
floor-board of his unwieldy burden, which is under the height of 
his shoulders, with much distress of the weary beast in the long 
marches. Not a little stately are those camel litters, with 
the ladders and gay trappings, marching in the empty way 
of the desert ; — they remain perchance of the old Byzantine 
pageantry. Journeying by day and by night the takhts are 
rarely disordered. All this sore travail of men and beasts, and 
great government expense, might well be spared, if palmers 
would take the sea to Mecca ; but that were less meritorious : 
without this irrational wearing of the flesh in the worship of God 
the Giver of life they were not hajjies indeed. The aga and 
his son rode upon hackneys ; but the carriage is costly, of their 
barley and much daily water. A Galla slave bore fire after 
them in an iron sling, for the nargilies ; whirling the smoulder- 
ing coals they are presently kindled. 

As we advanced I saw the takhts to be inhabited, and that 
they were the beginning of a man's funerals. Wrapped in his large 
hair cloak he was laid in them, soon jto die, and the pompous 
litter was often his bier before evening. I saw none of those 
clay-white faces that came in there which left it again alive ; 
they depart this life in the vehement labour of the way, without 
comfort of human kindness, amidst the litany of horrible im- 
precations, which are all moments in the mouths of the young 
Damascus drivers : and when a man was passed, any of them 
who looked in upon him said but to his fellows, mat, "he is 
dead ! " Arrived at the station they lifted out his corse, the 
dead man's heels knocking and training upon the ground, and 
bore it into the pavilion. In our riding, I often saw some wild 
headstone of a palmer's sandy grave. The strangest adventure 
in this Haj was the pilgrimage of a Persian lady deceased, who 
dying at Maan, would needs be laid in holy ground at Mecca 
thirty journeys in advance, and faithfully her serving man en- 
deavoured to fulfil his dame's last bequest. He bought a camel 
(of our Persian camel-master), and the beast slaughtered, he 
sewed in the raw hide his dead mistress and lapped upon that 



PILGRIMAGE OF A DECEASED LADY. 67 

raw sheepskins ; then binding poles all round, he laid up this 
bale of worm's meat in her cradle litter, and followed as hitherto 
in the caravan. After some journeys, the tiding came to the ears 
of the Pasha ; certain persons had seen the servant sitting under 
a thorn tree, which he had made his night quarters, to keep the 
wake by his ghastly baggage. The Pasha took counsel, and his 
ordinance was that the uncouth funeral might follow with the 
pilgrimage, but at a little distance ; also he forbad this man to 
bring his dead lady, at the stations, within the encampment. — 
As an impression in water will strike all round, so it is in every 
mischief in the world ! for this chance I was also the worse, and 
rode since Maan as one of the mourners ; it happened so that 
the beast taken for the slaughter was the camel from under me. 
Every day, since Muzeyrib, the camel-master had murmured, 
that my over-heavy load would break his camel's back ; of this 
or other cause the great brute suffered by the way and was 
sick. Then at Maan they all told me, with mouths full of 
great oaths, that my camel was dead. The camel-master bought 
there, to mount me, a young black cow -camel, of the Aarab, 
wild and untaught : this unlucky change of riding turned also 
to my great torment. Unused to marching tied, and these long 
journeys, under heavy burdens, she would fall upon her knees 
and couch down amidst the moving lines, snap the leading 
strings, and trouble all behind which came on riding over me. 
It made me oftentimes a mark for the choleric exclamations of 
too many weary persons, and there was danger thus, when all 
is danger, in the dark night marching. I could have no redress, 
and though this was against the faith of my Damascus con- 
tract, they all cried upon me, that I had killed the man's camel. 
The camel-master, hoping to extort somewhat, many times 
refused to send me my camel at the removes ; when all the 
rest were ready and the signal was heard to march, they have 
left me alone in the desert, standing in the dark, by my bags. 
When it happened thus, I laid hold of el-Eswad, and would not 
let him go, for though they brought up the beast at last, I 
had not strength to load on her single handed ; sometimes the 
worst have sworn to ' leave my body under the sand where 
I stood.' These shrews played an ill comedy ; the danger 
urgent, I drew out before them my naked pistol : after other 
days, they gave over thus to trouble me. They are wolves 
to each other and what if some were hounds to me ? for the 
distress of the way edges all men's spirits. And this is spoken 
proverbially in Syria amongst Mohammedans as against the 
Haj. " Ware of any neighbour of thine an hajjy ! Twice a hajjy, 
keep thy door close ; an hajjy the third time, build up the door 

5—2 



68 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

of thy dwelling and open another upon the contrary part." 
Commonly the fanaticism in religion is worn very near the 
threads in old hajjies : they are come to some cold conceit 
of their own in religious matter ; for what sanctity perceive 
they at Mecca ? where looking into the ark, they see but 
bubbles burst, that seemed before pearls in Syria ! Yet there 
are no hurly-burlies in the Haj, the fearful fantasies of towns- 
folk in Beduin country, draw them silently together where they 
think there is no salvation out of the caravan. 

The pilgrims the more earnestly remember their devotion as 
they approach the sacred temples ; and in the forced marches 
whilst we rode, at the hours, some pious men played the 
Muetthins, crying to prayers from the rocking height of their 
cattle. The solemn cry was taken up at the instant, with 
vast accord by the thousands of manly throats, and the desert 
side once a year bellows again, with this multitudinous human 
voice. The Persians take up the cry in the rearward, yet put- 
ting in their confession before Mohammed, the name of Aly. 
And that is a chief cause of their contention with the catholic 
Mohammedans by whom they are named Shias, and betwixt 
shias and sunnis, when they meet, is commonly contention. 
Their bickerings are not seldom in the Persian Gulf, among 
the British steam-packet passengers, so that the English officers 
must come between them. The litany of Mohammed's Arabian 
religion must be said in his native tongue. — Oh what contempt 
in religions of the human reason ! But it is a wonder to hear 
these poor foreigners, how they mouthe it, to say their prayer 
in the canonical strange speech, and only their clerkish men can 
tell what ! There came in our crew, in fellowship with el- 
Eswad, a young tradesman of Damascus ; these friends went by 
the long way sporting, and (as southern folk) leaning on each 
other's necks, and in that holy cry they shouted as good as ten 
men in mockery for " our Lord Aly." Sometimes at Medina 
there has befallen certain imprudent and embittered Persians 
an extreme and incredible mischief ; this is when they would 
spitefully defile Mohammed's sepulchre, in covertly letting fall 
dung upon it ; yet not so privily but they were espied by 
Argus-eyed sunnis. Mahmud at Maan, yearly wont to ride 
with the Haj soldiery, had three years before my coming thither 
seen such an hap at Medina. The denounced wretch was haled 
forth to the raging execrations of the fanatic hajjaj. The sunni 
multitude condemned him to die in hell torments ; there was 
fetched-to and heaped timber, and the fire kindled they thrust 
him in ; and said Mahmud, with a sigh of vengeance satisfied, 
" we burned him the cursed one." 



THE EMIR OF THE HAJ. 69 

Among the light-mounted, I saw an old man, you might take 
him for some venerable sheykh of his village, sitting " as one of the 
governors," upon a white ass of Bagdad, and whenever I noted 
him he would pleasantly greet me, saying, " How fare you, Khalil 
Effendi ? " and looking upon me the old eyes twinkled under his 
shaggy brows as stars in a frosty night. He rode somewhat bowed 
down with a stiff back upon his beast, and his face might well be 
less known to me, for it was he who had been so extremely beaten 
days before at W. Zerka. The conscience of the box-breaker 
was already whole after the suffered punishment, his ridge-bone 
not yet ; his fault known to all men, he was not ashamed. 

The Sir Amin is entitled Emir el-Haj, ' commander of the 
great pilgrimage,' an officer who, in old times, was often a 
Sultan's son ; but in our days it is some courtier warm from the 
delicate carpets of Stambul, and little able to sustain the rude- 
ness of camel-riding. I saw him carried softly in a varnished 
coach, between two stout even-pacing mules with trappings of 
scarlet ; a relay followed, and when it pleased him he mounted 
his beautiful horse with the Pasha, with whom lies all the 
charge of conducting the caravan. The gentleman was not 
wont to so early rising, and removing before dawn, and commonly 
his tardy litter overtook the caravan about day-break. As for 
the Pasha, although stepped in years, there was none so early 
or so late as he : Muhafiz or guardian of the pilgrimage, he held 
also the office of paymaster, kasra el-haj, upon the road, to the 
Beduw. This resolute man of the sword, most robust, and 
hardened to sustain fatigues from his youth, sleeps but two 
hours, (thus his familiars say of him,) in the Haj journey. He 
rests, in the night marches, in his takht er-Bum, borne by his 
own camels, and that is first in the train : there goes beside him 
the dalil or pilot of the caravan. His passage in the day time 
was not so wearying as our slow march ; the Pasha then rides 
forth, freshly mounted upon his mare, with his officers and a 
few troopers, to two or three leagues in advance of the caravan ; 
there halting they alight, a lire is kindled and they sit down 
to drink coffee and the nargily, until the pilgrimage is coming 
again by them ; and with another and another of these out- 
ridings the day is passed. A tent is pitched about noon for 
the Pasha, and a tent for the Sir Amin, where shadowed they 
may break their fasts ; and this sand country is often burning as 
coals in the winter's sun. 

Strange to me was the daily sight of some half-score of 
Syrian street dogs, that followed with the pilgrimage : every 
year some Syrian hounds go down thus to Mecca, with the city 
of tents, and return from thence. The pious eastern people 



jo TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

charitably regard those poor pilgrim creatures, that are, in their 
beasts' wit, they think, among God's witnesses of the true religion. 
Eswad, if he saw any fainting hound, in the next halt he lured 
him, and poured out a little precious water, to the unclean animal, 
in the heel of his shoe. Strange hounds will be rent in pieces 
among them, if they enter another quarter in their own city ; at 
Mecca it is likely they remain abroad by the baggage encamp- 
ment. The quaintest of our Persian fellowship was a white cock ; 
I thought, after the lion, this brave bird might be a standard of 
theirs, so gallantly rode chanticleer aloft, in a chain and pair of 
scarlet jesses. He stood pitching uneasily and balancing with his 
white wings upon the highest of the takht er-Kum camel furni- 
tures ; at night he roosted lordly in the coach, or chained, like a 
bear to a post, within the Persians' wide pavilion. Chuck, chuck ! 
said this fluttering ghost that had no more a merry heart to hail 
us in the desert morning ; crestfallen was the pasha-bird, it was 
piteous that men carried none of his hareem along with him ! — 
I could not read this riddle of a cock ; Eswad only answered me 
" the bird is mine." This fatigue of the journey cuts off a man's 
voice at the lips, and half his understanding ; more than this I 
could not learn, it might be a mystery of religion. Who will 
spend his spirits in the long march ? There is little uttered 
then beside curses, yet in the night station they will sit taling 
awhile under the stars about their supper fires. 

The long hours passed, our march lay ever between the 
double array of mountains : the hajjies on camel-back slumbered 
as they sat bent and bowing in the hot sun. By the long way, 
is sometimes heard a sudden shouting, upon the flanks of the 
moving caravan ; there is a running out of the people and a 
shower of sticks and stones. A poor little startled hare is their 
quarry, more seldom the thob ; at every double she escaped many 
deaths until some violent bat bereft her dear life ; or I have seen 
poor puss hie her among the rabble of footmen, running back 
and doubling for shelter, among the legs of the camels and even 
fairly escape, by miracle. The thob is an edible sprawling lizard; 
the great-grown is nearly a yard long with his tail, and the 
Arabs say very sweet meat. A morsel of venison is so pleasant 
to poor folk in the caravans : the better provided carry some 
smoked and cured flesh which may be had good enough and 
cheap at Damascus. Mutton slaughtered by Beduins is set to 
sale at the principal stations. They only fare well which are of 
the Pasha's household, whose government mess is every day a 
yearling sheep ; these fattened at some kella stations we saw 
daily driven along with the caravan. 

At the mid-afternoon there was some mirage before us : I saw 



MABKET-STBEET OF TENTS: SUNDAY. 7 i 

it not again in nomad Arabia, which is nearly dewless, and with- 
out ground moisture ; there is mirage also of the wavering and 
smoking of thin heated air over the sun-stricken soil. Ten miles 
westward upon our right hand, is a ruined site Gereyih, of which 
the country Beduins recount strange fables, but I hear of trust- 
worthy persons it is inconsiderable. We came soon after to the 
canvas ceilings of our tents, stretched without the skirts, in an 
open plain, el-Kd. That station was only for a short resting- while 
and to take food, for the night before us we were to join to this 
daylight's already long marching. I sent to the camp market 
for meat, but there was none held here, nor had any tradesman 
opened his bales of merchandise. The market in the journeying 
canvas city is also called suk ; it is a short street of caravan 
merchants' tents, and pitched in our descending march at the 
southward. There are set out wares for the Beduins, (which 
assemble from far upon both sides of the derb el-haj,) clothing and 
carpets and diverse small merchandise : also there are salesmen 
to the pilgrims of biscuit, prepared wheaten stuff and the like ; 
and if any private man would sell or buy anything by the cry of 
the running broker, it is done there. The clothing merchants go 
not all down to Mecca ; but certain of them descending every 
year in the Haj, to their several nomad districts, there remain 
until the returning upward. The most are of the Medan ; some 
of them were born of Beduin mothers. Their gross gain is not, 
they say, above twenty -five in the hundred ; but when the Aarab 
pay them in butter, there is a second advantage, at Damascus. 

The desert day closed over us with vast glory of fiery 
hanging clouds : the sun's great rundle went down, with few 
twinkling smiles, behind the mountains of Hisma. In these 
golden moments after we had rested out two hours and supped, 
a new gunfire warned the caravan to remove. We set forward 
in the glooming, which lasts but few minutes in Arabia, and 
it is dim night : other eleven hours we must journey forth to 
come to our rest-station at Tebuk. The moon lightened our 
march this third Sunday night ; which name to the heart born in 
land of Christians, in the most rumble, weariness and peril of 
the world is rest and silence. Near behind me there drove a 
Persian akkam, who all night long chanted, to teach his rude fellow, 
now approaching the holy places, to say his canonical prayer, 
the Arabic sounding sweet upon his Persian tongue, el-hamdu 
lilldhi Bub el-alamin ; the words of the fdtha or " opening " of 
the koran, " Unto God be all glory, the Lord of worlds " : — this 
lullaby they chanted ever among them till the morning light. 
Soon after midnight the shooting in the van of two rockets was 
the signal to halt ; we slept on the sand for an hour : at a new 



7 2 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 



warning shot we must rise again and set forward. When the 
moon went down, at three in the morning, we marched by our 
paper lanterns. There was a signal again little before dawn 
and we halted forty minutes : the sunrising in Arabia is naked 
and not bathed in dewy light. The caravan making forward 
anew, in a purgatory of aching fatigue and betwixt sleeping and 
waking, we came nodding at eight o'clock in the morning, in 
sight of Tebuk. Of twenty-six hours, or more than a revolu- 
tion of the planet, we had marched twenty-four, and left behind 
us fifty miles at least : it is a great wonder how so many in the 
caravan can hold out upon their feet. 

The ancient village, built of raw clay, appears of an ochre 
colour, pleasantly standing before a palm-grove, in a world of 
weary desert, strewn with the sandstone quartz pebbles. I 
found the altitude 2900 feet ; green corn-plots are before the 
place in the irrigated sand. Far at our left hand, standing over 
the wild bank of mountains, is the sharp Jebel head called by 
the Syrian caravaners Mumbir er-Basul, the Apostle's pulpit, 
for the form, which is of a tilted table, or such as the preacher's 
munbir in the great mes- 
jids. Mohammed passing 
by Tebuk stood, they say, 
upon that loft of the black 
looking mountain, and 
preached to the peoples 
of Arabia : the Beduw 
name this height Sherora, 
it is a great land-mark, 
and in marches of the 
Sherarat (the head as I 
might understand is lime- 
stone, and the stack is 
sandstone). — It were idle 
to ask these land-names 
of the caravaners : now the Hisma dies away behind us. All 
along by the haj road from hence were, as they tell, of old time 
villages ; so that the wayfarer might at one break his fast, and 
sup at another : no need was then to carry provision for the way. 

We found here refreshment of sweet lemons, tomatoes, 
pomegranates, and the first Arabian dates, but of a lean kind, 
the best are fetched from Teyma. The villagers are named el- 
Humeyddt and they call themselves Arab el-Kaabeny, few and 
poor people, their " forty households" only defended by the kella 
from the tyranny of the Beduins ; and they are the kella 
servants. The water here, flat and lukewarm, is little whole- 




TEBUK. 73 

some ; this desert bottom is naturally a rising place of ground 
waters. Ayn Tebuk is an ancient spring and conduit but 
stopped by the ruin of great fallen stones. Surra for this 
tower is received by the sheykh of B. Atieh. Tebuk is an old 
name; nevertheless, the nomads say, the place was anciently 
called Yarmuk. We should rest here the day over. As we 
rode the last night, some troopers were come to enquire of me 
what man I was ? I remained therefore in the tents, dreading 
that my being in the caravan was now come to the Pasha's 
ears, and he might leave me here. The Persians sit solacing in 
the passing hours with sweet tea, which they make in such 
brass machines as the Muscovites, and smoking the perfumed 
nargilies. Only the Pasha himself, who is paymaster of the 
road, is all day most busy in the kella, with the Beduin sheykhs, 
who are come into the place to receive their toll-money. 

The paymaster's office fills yet higher the old man's heavy 
purse : so he handles the disbursement that there shall remain 
some rubbing of the serpent's scales in his hold. The Turkish 
juggling by which one may be a public thief and yet an honest 
stately citizen, is wonderful to consider ! The mejidy, or otto- 
man crown piece was, say, twenty piastres government money, 
and twenty-two or twenty-three in the merchants' reckoning at 
Damascus. The sum of the Haj expenses is delivered to the 
pasha paymaster, at the setting out, a crown for twenty piastres : 
but he goes on paying the wild Beduw all the road along a 
crown piece for twenty-two and a half piastres, swearing down 
the faces of the nomad sheykhs, who are weak in art metric, 
and taking witness of all men in their wits that the crown is 
now so many piastres, by Ullah ! These Turkish souls seem 
to themselves to be not alive in a corrupt world, but they 
be still eating of the corrupt world somewhat : this pretty 
device becomes a great man and makes him to be commended 
in the fraternity of their criminal government. Here is no 
leak in the chest, he diminishes not the Sultan's revenue, but 
bites only the fingers of the accursed Beduins. It is true he 
deals in equal sort with the garrisons' wages, and of their poor 
bags he plucks out the lining ; but the soldiery can suffer smiling 
this law of the road, since he also disburses to the tower wardens, 
for more men than he will ever require of them, to be mustered 
before him. And the stout old officer loves well the great fatigues 
of his benefice, which can every year endow him so richly ; his 
salary is besides 2000 Turkish pounds, with certain large allow- 
ances for the daily entertainment of many persons and cattle. 

Mohammed Said was one the worthiest of his hand and most 
subtle headed in all Syria. As all great personages in the 



74 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

Arabic countries, I have found him easy to be spoken withal : 
full of astute human humour, bearing with mildness his worship- 
ful dignity. Of most robust pith he was ; yet all these strong 
souls are born under no clearer star than to be money catchers. 
In soil of such a government as theirs, there come up no patriots : 
what examples see they ever in their youth of goodly deeds or 
noble ends of men's lives ! And if any gentler spirit bred amongst 
them, would suck some sweet comfort of his proper studies, in the 
empty task of the Arabic letters, he should but grow downward. 
The Kurdy Pasha to-day possessed funded property, all of his 
own strong and sleighty getting at Damascus, (where he had built 
himself a great palace,) of the yearly rent of more than 10,000 
pounds, if you can believe them : his father was but a poor aga 
before him. Like the most that are grown great ones amongst 
them, he had been a man of militant violence and a blood- 
shedder from his youth. Appointed upon a time governor of 
Acre, when the Moghreby commander would not cede his place, 
they took the event of battle upon it : such strife was there in 
those lawless days, betwixt Kurds and the Moghrebies merce- 
naries, and between either of them and the not less turbulent 
Albanians ; their divisions were an old sore, in these parts of 
the Turkish empire. Mohammed Said's part chased the other 
to Tiberias, and held on killing and wounding, to Jacob's bridge 
over Jordan ; his own brother fell there. A familiar friend of 
the Pasha told me the government is tardy to go between these 
bickerings of stubborn nations, whom they let thus spend them- 
selves and spare for no human blood : the Turks rule also by 
oppositions of religions ; it is thus they put a ring in the nose 
of Syria. 

The old Kurdy, yet more covetous in his office, was become 
his own camel-master, in the caravan ; fifty of his beasts carried 
the sacred stores, such as the yearly provision of oil for the 
Harameyn ; and a load of the holy stuffs is only sixty roll, the 
ordinary being an hundred. Thus by the haj way he licked fat 
from all beards, and was content to receive peace offerings even 
of the poor kella keepers, their fresh eggs and chickens, presents 
of sweet lemons and the like ! His children were an only 
daughter, and he loved her dearer than himself. When I was 
come again from the Arabian journey to Damascus, I went to 
salute him at his marble-stairs palace ; — the unhappy father ! 
his dear child was lately dead. Alas weary man, a part of him 
buried, for what more should he live ? and whose to be, ere 
long, those gotten riches, when he should be borne out feet 
foremost from his great house ! He had brethren ; I met with a 
young brother of this old man, an under-officer of soldiery, little 






THE SIGHT OF THE HARRA. 



75 



before I took my journey, who hearing I would out with the 
Haj, answered with a fanatical indignation, " Ullah forbid it : 
shall any Nasrany come in the Hej&zl" — The Kaimakam at 
Maan is paid well with £20 a month, and he lives himself of his 
horse rations of barley. Besides, drawing the corn and wages of 
sixty men for the garrison, he holds but twenty, of whom only 
ten are Damascene men-at-arms, and the rest half-paid hire- 
lings of the peasantry in the next villages. Here is forty men's 
living honestly spared, to be divided between himself and the 
crooked fingers of his higher officers ! This is the game of the 
derb el-haj, they all help each other to win, and are confederate 
together ; and the name of the Sultan's government is a band of 
robbers. 

At a signal shot on the morrow the caravan removed ; two 
hours before day we were marching in a place of thorns and 
tamarisks, a token of ground-water ; we made good booty of 
firewood. The loose sand soil is strewed with black vulcanic 
pebbles, which are certainly from the Harra. The hills fade 
away eastward, the country is rising. Westward, are seen now, 
behind the low border train of sandstone bergs, rank behind 
rank, some black peaks of a mighty black platform mountain, 
and this is the Harra. Those heads are spent vulcanoes 




of the lava-covered Harra-height, twenty miles backward ! 
After marching ten hours we pass a belt of hills, which lies 
athwart our road for an hour. Forty miles from Tebuk we 
encamped in open ground Dar el-Miighr or el-Kalandary ; the 
Harra beyond is that of the Sidenyin nomads, a division of 
B. Atieh, whose women wear the forelock braided down in an 
horn, with a bead, upon their foreheads. 



j6 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

We were again hastily on foot at three in the dark morning. 
With what untimely discomfort and trepidation of weary hearts 
do we hear again the loud confused rumour of a great caravan 
rising ! that harsh inquietude, upon a sudden, of the silent night 
camp and thousands of bellowing camels. We marched then 
through the belt of mountains in hollow ground, ascending till we 
came, at nine, to the highest of the way. We descend soon by the 
Boghrdz el-Akhdar, a steep glen head, an hundred feet deep in 
thick bedded sandstone : dangerous straits were they beset by 
Beduins, there may hardly more than two camels pass abreast. 
I espied upon the face of a stone, at the wayside, some Nabatean 
inscription of two lines, the first I had seen in these countries : 
leaping from my camel, I would have hastily transcribed the 
strange runes, but in a moment was almost overridden by the 
tide of those coming behind, of whom some cursed the hajjy 
standing in the way and some went by me and wondered. The 
passage in an hour opens into a sandy valley-bottom one 
hundred and fifty feet lower, with green desert bushes : we ar- 
rived already an hour before noon, at the kellat el-Akhdar, to 
rest and watering. The Aarab name both the valley and tower 
el'Khiithr, and the neighbour Beduin sheykh, (Mesded, with his 
people of B. Atieh), is surnamed el-Khnthery. Saidna (our 
Lord) Khithr is that strange running Beduwy of the Bible, 
Elijah theProphet ; a chapel-of-rags, under his invocation, is seen 
within the kella. Elijah, confounded also with St. George, is a 
mighty prophet with the Syrians, as well Mohammedans as 
Greek Christians : they all prognosticate from his year's day, 
in the autumn, the turning of the weather, which they are well 
assured never fails them. The fiery Tishbite taken up quick 
to heaven, has at sometime appeared to men in this forlorn 
valley ; the Moslemin ignorant of our biblical lore say of him, 
" It is that prophet, who is in earth and also in heaven." 

Over this kella doorway is an old Arabic inscription, en- 
graved within a border, shaped as a Roman ensign board. The 
great cistern is triple ; and here only a third and least part was 
now in use ; the water is raised of a shallow well within the 
kella. The watering of a multitude of men and cattle is a 
strong labour, and these hardly-worn and weakly-fed serving men 
are of wonderful endurance. Beyond the haj-camp market I 
saw some wretched booths, next under the kella, of certain 
nomads which inherit the office of foragers of the camel knot- 
grass to the Haj : no Beduins would lend themselves to this 
which they think an ignoble traffic. These despised desert 
families, the Sweyfly, are reckoned to the Sherarat. The head 
of this wady is in the district er-Raha of the Harra, under the 



EL-AKHDAB: ELIJAH. 77 

high vulcanic hills Sheyban and Witr. From a cliff in the 
valley head, there flows down a brook of warm water, which 
where stagnant in lower places is grown about with canes ; in this 
ponded desert water are little fishes. Here the Aarab draw for 
their camels, but drink not themselves, the taste is brackish ; 
the freshet runs little further, and is sunk up again. The valley 
below now turns northward and goes out, so far as I could learn 
from the nomads, in the circuit of Tebiik. Beduins that have 
part ground rights of this tower, to receive surra and be haj 
carriers are the Moahib, afterward my friends, (Aarab of the 
next lower Harra,) and the Fejir or Fukara ; they are Annezy 
tribes of the circuit of Medain Salih. 

Upon these valley coasts I saw cairns or beacons ; the akkams 
call them mantar. Many are the hasty graves of buried pilgrim 
" witnesses " in this station ; upon the headstones of wild blocks 
pious friends have scored the words which were their names. To 
be accounted " witnessing," surely for civil souls, is the creeping 
plague of Egypt. It is so many days and nights since poor men 
change not their clothing, that those who inhabit by all the rivers 
of Damascus are become as any derwishes. But if one cannot 
for a set time withdraw his spirit from the like miseries, paying 
the toll to nature for such difficult passages, let him not be 
called a man : and who would be abashed if lions rose upon 
him, he is not meet to be " a son of the way " in this horrid 
country. 

After nightfall I stole with el-Eswad through the camp, to 
visit some inscriptions within the kella. We crept by the Pasha's 
great pavilion, a greenish double tent, silken they say and 
Engleysy, that is of the best Frankish work ; at every few paces 
we stumbled over stretched cords and pins of the pilgrims' tents, 
which, when struck, carry like spiders' threads an alarm within 
and sleepers waken with a snatching sound and a rude bounce 
in their ears. " Who he there ! " is cried out, and we had much 
to do to answer softly " Forgive it, friends " and go on stumbling. 
The kella was open, and in the doorway, lighting our lanterns, 
he showed me the inscriptions, they were but few rude scorings 
upon wall stones. There came to look on some of the loitering 
garrison, which are Moors, and wondered to see one writing, 
and when they spoke some piety of the Neby, that I answered 
nothing, as I could not in conscience. We looked into Elias' 
chamber-of-rags and hastily departed ; the caravan was again 
about to remove, to march all this night, for there is no rest 
upon pilgrimage. 

At ten o'clock of the starry night we set forth, and rode 
descending in a deep ground with cliffs, till two in the morning, 



yS TBAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

when the eastern bank faded into a plain before us. The night 
was open with cold wind ; footgoers made blazing fires of the 
dry bushes and stood by, a moment, to warm themselves. We 
passed an hour or two through a pleasant woody place of acacia 
trees named by the caravaners Jeneynat el-Kddy " The justice's 
pleasure ground; " and all greenness of bushes and trees is " a 
garden " in the desert. After twenty miles we were in a deep 
open valley ; a little before the sun rising the caravan halted 
forty minutes. And from thence we enter a long glen W. Sdny, 
whose cliffs are thick beds of a massy iron sandstone. That 
sand bottom is bestrewed with vulcanic drift, some bluish grey, 
heavy and hard, worn in the shape of whetstones, pumice, and 
black lavas. The drift ceasing, after some miles begins afresh ; 
I saw it fallen down over the shelves of the valley's western wall, 
and pertaining doubtless to the Harra, which although not in 
sight, trends with our long passage since Tebuk. The soil was even 
footing and many alighted here to walk awhile. Some Persians, 
my neighbours, ran to show me (whom they understood to be 
an hakim) morsels which they had taken up of clear crystal, to 
know if they had not found diamonds ; for blunt men as they are 
further from home, think themselves come so much the nigher 
to the world's riches and wonders. Here Eswad promised to show 
me many inscriptions, I found only scorings of little worth, upon 
hard quarters of sandstone, that lay in the wady floor. Whilst 
I lingered to transcribe them, the caravan was almost half an 
hour gone from us, and there came by the Beduin carriers, 
men of lean swarthy looks, very unlike the full-of-the-moon 
white visages of Damascus. Ill clad they were, riding upon the 
rude pack furnitures of their small desert camels ; these Beduins 
were afterward my hosts in the wilderness. The hajjies admire 
upon the east valley side above, a statue-like 
form ed-dubb " the bear," whether so made by 
rude art, or it were a strange mocking herself of 
mother Nature. It resembles, to my vision, a 
rhinoceros standing upon legs, and the four 
legs set upon a pedestal. One might guess it had been an idol ; 
I hear from some which had climbed, that the image is natural. 
The sandstones, in some places of iron durity, in other are 
seen wasted into many fantastic forms. 

We came, always ascending in very high country, to our 
camp, at four in the afternoon, having marched nineteen hours. 
Here is Birket Moaddam and an abandoned kella, the fairest and 
greatest in all the road, with the greatest cistern ; a benefaction 
of the same Sultan Selim. The border is here between the 
Fejir and Khuthera nomads ; the land height 3700 feet, and this 




FORCED MARCHES TO COME TO WATER. 79 

is a fresh station in the great summer heats. The birket 

is ruinous, there is no water ; we make therefore great forced 

marches, the only hope of water since el-Akhdar before Medain 

Salih, fifty leagues distant, being at the next station, Bar el- 

Hamra, where is commonly none. For there is also but a 

cistern at a freshet bed to be flushed by the uncertain winter 

rains ; and if there runs in any water, within a while it will be 

vapoured to the dregs and teeming with worms. The Haj 

journey, day and night, to arrive at their watering before the 

cattle faint, which carry their goods and their lives. In such 

continuous marching, 150 long miles, many of the wayworn 

people die. I have seen hard caravan men, that I had thought 

heartless, shudder in telling some of their old remembrance. It 

is most terrible when in their lunar cycle of thirty years, the 

pilgrimage is to be taken in the high summer ; the Arabian 

heaven is burning brass above their heads, and the sand as 

glowing coals under their weary feet. This year good tidings 

were come to Damascus, showers were fallen, a seyl had filled 

the cistern. Khubbat et-Timathil is some rock nigh this station, 

as the Beduins tell, scored over with inscriptions. The southern 

Welad Aly are from this stage Haj carriers ; their nomad 

liberties are beside and below their kinsmen the Fukara, to 

Sawra, the fourth station above Medina. Some four hundred 

are their tents : they are unwarlike, treacherous, inconstant, 

but of honourable hospitality. They having lately withheld 

the tribute from Ibn Kashid, the great prince of Shammar, and 

betrayed Kheybar to the Turkish governors of Medina, Ibn 

Eashid came upon them this summer, in a foray, at Medain 

Salih, and took a booty of their camels and brought away the 

tents and all their household stuff. 

We removed about three hours after midnight ; a few miles 
further we passed through belts of desert thorns, which tree is 
the gum-arabic acacia. The caravan marched in an open sandy 
plain, bordered along by hills at either hand : in the morning 
I found the height 4000 feet. This land lies abandoned to the 
weather, in an eternity, and nearly rainless ; in all the desolate 
soil I have not perceived any freshet channel since our coming 
down from the Akaba, the nomads may discern them, but not 
our eyes : yet in some great land-breadths of desert Arabia there 
are found none. In the next circuit of el-Hejr, that is Medain 
Salih, save a shower or two, there had not fallen rain these three 
years. The wady ground before us is strewed with vulcanic 
drift for many miles ; the Harra border, though hidden, lies not 
very far from the road. Further the sand is strewn with 
minute quartz grains, compared by the pilgrims to rice. East 



8o TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

by the way, stacks are seen of fantastic black sandstone pin- 
nacles, that resemble the towers of a ruinous city. 

Before the sunset we came to our white tents pitched beside 
the ruinous kella, without door and commonly abandoned, Dar 
el-Hamra " the red house." Ruddy is that earth and the rocks 
whereof this water-castle is built. High and terrible it showed 
in the twilight in this desolation of the world. We are here 
at nearly 4200 feet. After marching above one hundred miles 
in forty-three hours we were come to the water, — water-dregs 
teeming with worms. The hot summer nights are here fresh 
after the sunset, they are cold in spring and autumn, and that is 
a danger for the health of the journeying pilgrimage, especially 
in their returning jaded from tropical Mecca. Eswad told me a 
dolorous tale of a cholera year, now the third or fourth past, in 
the ascending Haj : he thought there died in the marches and 
in the night stations, an hundred (that is very many) every 
day. ' The deceased and dying were trussed with cords upon 
the lurching camels' backs until we reached, said he, this 
place ; and all was fear, no man not musing he might be one of 
the next to die, and never come home to his house ; the day 
had been showery, the rain fell all that night incessantly. The 
signal gun was fired very early before dawn and the Haj removed 
in haste, abandoning on the wet ground of the dark desert, he 
thought, one hundred and fifty bodies of dead and dying. At 
length those which survived of the pilgrimage, being come upon 
the wholesome Peraean highlands, were detained to purge their 
quarantine at ez-Zerka eight days.' He thought it was hardly 
the half of them which lived to enter again, by the Boabat 
Ullah, to the pleasant streets of Damascus. Many are their 
strange Haj tales of the cholera years, and this among them. 
' There was a poor man who dying by the way, his friends, 
digging piously with their hands, laid him in a shallow grave ; 
and hastily they heaped the sand over their dead and departed 
with the marching caravan. Bye and bye in this dry warmth, the 
deceased revived ; he rose from his shallow burial, and come to 
himself he saw an empty world and the Haj gone from him. 
The sick staggered forth upon their footprints in the wilderness, 
and relieved from kella to kella, and from nomads to nomads, he 
came footing over those hundreds of waste miles to Damascus 
and arrived at his own house ; where he was but scurvily 
received by his nighe&t kin, who all out of charity disputed 
that it was not himself, since some of them but lately laid him 
in the grave, stark dead, in Arabia. They had mourned for him 
as dead ; now he was returned out of all season, and they 
had already divided his substance.' 



SALIH'S MIRACULOUS COW-CAMEL. 81 

We slept as we could, weary and cold, and removed an hoar 
before the new daybreak ; the country is an high ascending 
ground of cragged sandstones, bestrewn with rice-like quartz 
corns. The caravaners name the passage Shuk el-Ajuz; an 
ancient dame, as they say, once fallen in the rugged way, had 
given money to plane it. At the highest I found 4500 feet : 
now from hence is seen trending down mainly from the north, 
the solemn black front of the immense platform Harra mountain. 
We descended upon an easy shelving plain of sand, called by the 
nomads Menzil el-Haj. Twenty miles from Dar el-Hamra is a 
part of the way, among sandstone crags and deep sand called ez- 
Zelakdt, where we made halt almost an hour, and the day was 
sultry. I heard that here were seen inscriptions. The mountain 
at the left hand is called by the caravaners Abu Tdka and 
they say this rhyme Jebel Abu Tda fi ha arbaa asherin zeldkat ; 
also upon some of these rocks is read a scoffing Syrian epigraph, 
deriding the folly of any pilgrim who will bring his querulous 
hareem upon this voyage, Ibn el-karra, ellathi behdjiz el-marra. 
The weary akkams on foot about me, in the last miles' march- 
ing enquired every hour " Khalil Effendi, seest thou yet the 
tents from the back of thy camel ? " till I answered in their 
language ana sheyif, " I see them." We came down to our 
white camp in a sandy bottom environed with hills, and named 
in the caravan the Eice Beds, Mufdrish er-Buz, because the soil 
is all bestrewed with those white quartz grains. I was nearly now 
at the end of my journey with the Haj ; the next station is that 
fabulous Medain Salih, which I was come from far countries to 
seek in Arabia. The march is short, we should arrive on the 
morrow early ; and there they come to water. 

We removed again an hour after middle night : mild was the 
night air about us of the warm Arabia. At length in the dim 
morning twilight, as we journeyed, we were come to a sandy 
brow and a strait descending-place betwixt cliffs of sandstones. 
There was some shouting in the forward and Eswad bid me look 
up, " this was a famous place, Mubrak en-Ndk(g)a." The English 
of this name is ' where the cow-camel (naga) fell upon her knees 
and couched down ' (to die) ; this is the miraculous naka born 
of a mountain at the intercession of the Arabian prophet Salih, 
of whom are named the Medain or " Cities " now before us. By 
the little light I saw heaped stones upon the fallen-down blocks, 
a sign that it is a cursed place. The divine naka was pierced 
to death in this passage, by the bowshot of some sons of Belia], 
therefore the hajjaj fire off here their pistols, and make hurly 
burly, lest their cattle should be frighted by phantom-groans 
among the rocks of Neby Salih's camel. For the country Beduins, 

d. T. 6 



82 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 




>s~- 



\<i. 



40 



KV 



•:J 








A CHRISTIAN CAMEL DRIVER TO MECCA. 83 

unwitting of these devout fables, the name of the strait is 
el-Mezham " place of thronging." It is short, at first steep, and 
issues upon the plain of el-Hejr which is Medain Salih ; where 
the sun coming up showed the singular landscape of this valley- 
plain, encompassed with mighty sand-rock precipices (which 
here resemble ranges of city walls, fantastic towers and castle 
buildings,) and upon them lie high shouldering sand drifts. 
The bottom is sand, with much growth of desert bushes ; and 
I perceived some thin sprinkled vulcanic drift. Westward is 
seen the immense mountain blackness, terrible and lowering, 
of the Harra. 

I asked " And where are the Cities of Sdlih ? " It was answered 
" In none of these precipices about, but in yonder jebel," (Ethlib,) 
whose sharp crags and spires shot up now above the greenness 
of a few desert acacia trees, great here as forest timber. " And, 
Khalil, thou shalt see wonders to-day of houses hewn in the rock," 
some added, " and the hewn houses standing, wellah, heels upper- 
most, by miracle ! " Other plainer men said " This we saw not, 
but Khalil now thy way is ended, look, we have brought thee to 
Medain, where we say put not thyself in the danger of the 
Beduw, but go thou in to lodge at the kella which thou seest 
yonder with the palms ; it is a pleasant one." 

The pilgrimage began on a Sunday, this fair morning was 
the fourth Sunday in the way, therefore the world for me was 
peace, yet I mused what should become of my life, few miles 
further at Medain Salih. Whilst we were speaking I heard 
this disastrous voice before me : " Now only another Nasrany 
is in the caravan, curse Ullah his father, he will be dealt 
with presently." I demanded immediately of Eswad " what was 
it ? " he did not answer again. I could but guess, that some 
Christian akkam had been discovered amongst them, and to 
such the hajjaj were but a confederacy of murderers : — their 
religion is murderous, and were therefore to be trodden out 
as fire by the humanity of all the world ! I looked continually, 
and would have attempted somewhat, I was also an European 
and the caravan is full of reasonable men ; but I perceived 
naught, nor might hear anything further of him. I remembered 
the chance of a Syrian Christian mukdry, or muleteer carrier, 
whose friends were known to me at Damascus ; and who had 
many times been a driver in the Haj to the Harameyn. The 
lad's partner on the Syrian roads, was a jolly Moslem that went 
every year akkam in the pilgrimage ; and would have his fellow 
along with him, although it were to Mecca. The Christian was 
willing, and the other taught him praying and prostrations 
enough for young men of their simple condition. Thus the 

6—2 



8 4 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 



circumcised and the uncircumcised went down year by year, and 
returned to make a secret mock together : yet were any such in- 
loper uncased in the Haj, he being but a poor subject of theirs, 
and none to plead for him, he had sinned against his own soul ; 
except he would abjure his faith, he must die like a dog, he 
is " an unclean Nasrany," for the despite done unto Ullah and 
His Apostle. 



ce: 



ID 



CHAPTER IV. 

MEDAIN [THE " CITIES " OfJ SALIH. 

Encamp at Meddin. Go to lodge in the hella. Few pilgrims see the monu- 
ments. Departure of the Haj for Medina. Beduins in the hella. Kellas 
■seized by Beduins. The Moorish garrison. Haj Nejm. Mohammed Aly. Be- 
duins mislike the Haj government. Violence of Mohammed Aly. Sheykh Motlog. 
The hella. Hejra of the old geographers. Fehjdt. Emporium of the gold and 
frankincense road. Koran fable of the Thamudites. Frankincense found. A lost 
pilgrim derwish arrives. Beduin music. Miseries of the Haj. A lone derwish 
walked 660 miles to Maan from Mecca. Derelicts of the pilgrimage. The derwish 
dead in the desert. The simum (pestilent) wind. Mohammed 's religion. Their 
fanaticism fetched from Mecca. Islam can never be better. The Sheyhh Zeyd. 
Blackness and whiteness. Kellas built by Christian masons. The monuments 
visited. The "maiden's bower." Kasr, Kella. and Borj. The first inscription. 
The sculptured architecture. The hewn chamber. The Borj monuments. All the 
monuments are sepulchres. ThamUd a people " of giant stature." The smith's 
** house." The smith and the maiden's love tragically ended. KassUr Betheyny. 
The " cities " of Sdlih. Hid treasures. Arabia of our days a decayed land. 
The old oasis or caravan city. The birds. Beyt Akhreym&t. The " Senate 
house." The Nabatean letters forgotten in Mohammed's time. Woodwork of the 
monuments. There is no marble found. 

In a warm and hazy air, we came marching over the 
loamy sand plain, in two hours, to Medain Salih, a second 
merkez on the road, and at the midst of their long journey ; 
where the caravan arriving was saluted with many rounds from 
the field-pieces and we alighted at our encampment of white 
tents, pitched a little before the kella. 

The Ajamy would have me write him immediately a full 
release and acquittance. I thought it were better to lodge, if I 
might, at the kella ; the hellajy, surveyor of this and next towers, 
had once made me a promise in Damascus, that if I should 
ever arrive here he would receive me. The Beduins I heard to 
be come in from three days distance and that to-morrow they 
would return to their wandering menzils. I asked the Persian 
to transport my baggage, but because his covenant was out 



86 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

he denied me, although my debtor for medicines which he 
had upon the road freely, as much as he would. These gracious 
Orientals are always graceless short-comers at the last, and there- 
fore may they never thrive ! Meanwhile the way-worn people 
had bought themselves meat in the camp market of the Beduin 
fleshers, and fresh joints of mutton were hanging soon before 
all the Haj tents. The weary Damascenes, inhabitants of a 
river city, fell to diligently washing their sullied garments. 
Those who played the cooks in the fellowships, had gathered 
sticks and made their little fire pits ; and all was full of business. 
Here pilgrims stand much upon their guard, for this is, they 
think, the most thievish station upon the road to Medina, which 
" thieves " are the poor Beduins. A tale is told every year 
after their cooks' wit, how ' the last time, by Ullah, one did 
but look round to take more sticks and when he turned again 
the cauldron was lost. This cook stepped upon his feet and 
through the press he ran, and laid hand upon a bare-foot Beduwy 
the first he met ; and he was he, the cursed one, who stole back 
with the burning pot covered under his beggarly garment.' 
Friendly persons bade me also have a care, I might lose a thing 
in a moment and that should be without remedy. There came 
in some of the poor nomads among us ; the citizen hajjies 
cried upon them " Avaunt ! " some with staves thrust them, 
some flung them headlong forth by the shoulders as wild 
creatures ; certain Persians, for fear of their stealing, had armed 
themselves with stones. — Yet afterward I knew all these poor 
people as friendly neighbours, and without any offence. There 
were come in some of their women, offering to sell us bunches 
of mewed ostrich feathers, which they had taken up in the 
desert. The ribald akkams proffered them again half-handfuls 
of broken biscuit ; yet are these fretted short plumes worth 
above their weight in silver, at Damascus. Eswad, who was 
a merry fellow, offended at this bargaining with a dishonest 
gesture ; " Fie on thee, ah lad for shame ! " exclaimed the poor 
young woman : — the nomads much despise the brutish behaviour 
of the towns-people. I went through the encampment and came 
under the kella, where sweetmeat-sellers, with stone counterpoises,, 
were selling pennyworths of dates upon their spread mantles ; 
which wares are commonly carried in the desert journeys upon 
asses. I spoke to one to lend me his beast for money that 
I might fetch in my baggage. " My son, (answered the old 
man, who took me for one of the Moorish garrison,) I have 
therewith to do, I cannot lend him." I returned to the Ajamy ; 
he would now lend me a mule, and when I had written him 
his quittance, the cloudy villain changed to fair weather ; I saw 



MEDAIN SALIH. 87 

him now a fountain of smiles and pleasant words, as if he fed 
only with the bees among honey flowers, and bidding el-Eswad 
drive the load he brought me forward with the dunghill oriental 
grace and false courtesy. As I was going " Khalil Aga (said 
the best of the akkams) forgive us ! " they would have me not 
remember their sometimes rude and wild behaviour in the way. 
We found that kellajy standing before the gate of his kella, 
(thereover I saw a well engraved Arabic inscription) ; busy he 
was receiving the garrison victual and caravan stores. He 
welcomed me shortly and bade me enter, until he should be out 
of hand. Loiterers of the garrison would hardly let me pass, 
saying that no strangers might come in there. 

But what marvellous indifference of the weary hajjies ! I saw 
none of them set forth to view the monuments, though as much 
renowned in their religion as Sodom and Gomorrah, and whereof 
such strange fables are told in the koran. Pity Mohammed had 
not seen Petra ! he might have drawn another long-bow shot in 
Wady Musa : yet hardly from their camp is any of these wonders 
of the faith plainly visible. The palmers, who are besides greatly 
adread of the Aarab, durst not adventure forth, unless there go a 
score of them together. Departing always by night-time, the 
pilgrims see not the Cities of Salih, but the ascending Haj see 
them. Eswad came to the kella at nightfall, and bade me God- 
speed and to be very prudent ; for the tower garrisons are reputed 
men of violence, as the rest of the Haj service. So came the 
kellajy, who surprised to find me still sitting obscurely within, 
by my baggage, assigned me a cell-chamber. One came then 
and called him forth to the Pasha ; I knew afterward that 
he was summoned upon my account. About mid-night the 
warning gunshot sounded in the camp, a second was the signal 
to remove ; I heard the last hubbub of the Haj rising, and 
in few more moments the solemn jingles of the takhts er-Kum 
journeying again in the darkness, with the departing caravan. 
Few miles lower they pass a boghrdz, or strait in the mountains. 
Their first station is Zmurrud, a forsaken kella ; in another 
remove they come to Sawra kella, then Hedieh kella, Sujwa kella, 
Barraga, Oweynat el-Beden ; there the Haj camp is pitched 
a little before Medina. In every step of the Mecca-bound 
pilgrims is now heart's rest and religious confidence that they 
shall see the holy places ; they have passed here the midst of the 
long way. In the morning twilight, I heard a new rumour with- 
out, of some wretched nomads, that with the greediness of un- 
clean birds searched the forsaken ground of the encampment. 

As it was light the Beduins came clamorously flocking into 
the tower, and for a day we were over-run by them. Said 



88 TBAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Mohammed Aly the kellajy " Wellah, we cannot be sure from 
hour to hour ; but their humour changing, they might attempt 
the kella ! " It was thus the same Fejir Beduins had seized this 
kella few years before, when the Haj government established a 
new economy upon the pilgrimage road, and would have lessen- 
ed the nomads' former surra. The caravan gone by, the Aarab 
that were in the kella, with their sheykh Motlog, suddenly ran 
upon the weak guard, to whom they did no hurt but sent them 
in peace to el-Ally. Then they broke into the sealed chambers 
and pillaged all that might come to their hand, the Haj and 
Jurdy soldiers' stores with all that lately brought down for the 
victualling of this and the other kellas that stand under Medain 
Salih. The tribes that year would hardly suffer the caravan to 
pass peaceably, and other kellas were in like manner surprised 
and mastered by them ; that next below Medain, and Siijwa 
kella were robbed at the same time by the W. Aly. The Beduw 
said, they only sought their own ; the custom of surra or payment 
for right of way, could not now be broken. A squadron of Syrian 
cavalry sent down with the next year's Haj, to protect those towers, 
was quartered at el-Ally, but when the caravan was gone by, the 
Beduins (mostly W. Aly) went to surround the oasis, and held 
them besieged till the second year. I have said to the Beduins, 
" If the tower-keepers shut their plated door, what were all 
your threatenings against them ? " Arabians have not wit 
to burst iron-plate with the brunt of a beam, or by heaping 
fire-wood to burn the back timber of the door, nor any public 
courage to adventure their miserable lives under defended 
walls. They have answered me, " The kella could not be 
continually shut against us, the Beduins have many sly 
shifts ; and if not by other means yet by a thubiha, (gift of a 
sheep or other beast for slaughter,) we should not fail sometime 
to creep in." 

In this kella an old Moor of Fez, Haj Nejm, was warden 
(mohafuz) ; the other tower-keepers were Haj Hasan, a Moor of 
Morocco, who was before of this tower service, and coming in our 
pilgrimage from Damascus, had been stayed here again, at 
the entreaty of his countryman Nejm. Then Abd el-Kdder, 
(Servitor-of-the-mighty-God) a young man named after the 
noble Algerian prince, and son of his deceased steward : he 
growing into fellowship with the muatterin at Damascus, his 
"uncle " (whose venerable authority is absolute over all the 
Moorish emigration) had relegated the lubber into the main 
deserts for a year, in charge of Mohammed Aly. A fourth was 
Mohammed, a half Beduin lad, son of a former Damascene 
kella keeper, by a nomad housewife ; and besides, there was 



THE KELLA GARRISON. 89 

only a slave and another poor man that had been sent to keep 
the water together at the B. Moaddam. 

Our few Moors went armed in the tower amongst the 
treacherous Beduins ; Haj Nejm sat, with his blunderbuss 
crossed upon his knees, amongst his nomad guests, in the 
coffee chamber. He was feeble and old, and Hasan the only 
manful sufficient hand amongst them. This stalwart man was 
singing all the day at his task and smiling to himself with un- 
abated good humour. Self-minded he was and witty of head to 
find a shift with any wile, which made all easy to him, yet 
without his small horizon he was of a barbarous understanding ; 
so that Mohammed Aly would cry out upon his strongheaded- 
ness, " Wellah thou art a Berber, Hasan ! " (The Berbers, often 
blue-eyed and yellow-haired, a remnant of the former peoples of 
Barbary.) Twelve years he had been in the East, and might 
seem to be a man of middle age, but in his own eyes his years 
were fifty and more, " And wot you why (he would say and laugh 
again), my heart is ever green." The Moors are born under 
wandering stars. Many wearing the white burnus, come in 
every pilgrimage to Mecca ; thence they disperse themselves 
to Syria, to Mesopotamia, and to all the East Arabic world 
seeking fortune and service. They labour at their old trades 
in a new land, and those that have none, (they have all a 
humour of arms,) will commonly hire themselves as soldiers. 
They are hired before other men, for their circumspect acrid 
nature, to be caretakers of orchards at Damascus, and many 
private trusts are committed to the bold Moghrebies. These 
Western men are distinguished by their harsh ventriloqual 
speech, and foreign voices. 

Nejm, now a great while upon this side of the sea, was 
grown infirm more than aged ; he could not hope to see his 
Fez again, that happier soil of which, with a sort of smiling 
simplicity, he gossiped continually. He had wandered through 
the Barbary states, he knew even the Algerian Sahara ; at 
Tunis he had taken service, then sometime in Egypt far 
upon the Nile ; afterward he was a soldier in Syria, and 
later of the haj -road service, in the camp at Maan : a fervent 
Moslem, yet one that had seen and suffered in the world, he 
could be tolerant, and I was kindly received by him. ' The 
Engleys (said he) at Jebel Tar (Gibraltar) were his people's neigh- 
bours over the strait.' He had liever Engleys than Stambulies, 
Turks that were corrupted and no good Moslems. Only the 
last year the Sir Amin had left a keg of wine with them in 
the kella, till their coming up again : " a cursed man (he said) to 
drink of that which is forbidden to the Moslemin ! " He was 



90 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

father of two children, but, daughters, he seemed not to regard 
them ; female children are a burden of small joy in a poor 
Moslem family ; for whom the father shall at last receive but a 
slender bride-money, when they are divided from his house- 
hold. 

Nature prepared for the lad Mohammed an unhappy age ; 
vain and timid, the stripling was ambitious to be somewhat, 
without virtuous endeavour. A loiterer at his labour and a slug 
in the morning, I heard when Mohammed Aly reprehended him 
in this manner : " It is good to rise up, my son (as the day is 
dawning), to the hour of morning prayer. It is then the night 
angels depart, and the angels of the day arrive, but those that 
linger and sleep on still, Satan enters into them. Knowest thou 
I had once in my house a serving lad, a Nasrany, and although 
he washed his head with soap and had combed out his hair, yet 
then his visage always appeared swollen and discoloured, wellah 
as a swine ; and if you mark them of a morning, you may see the 
Nasara to be all of them as swine." 

" Ignorant " (jdhil) more than ill-given was the young Abd 
el-Kader, and hugely overgrown, so that Hasan said one day, 
observing him, " Abd el-Kader's costard is as big as the head of 
our white mule and nothing in it." Thus they pulled his cox- 
comb in the kella, till it had done the poor lad's heart good 
to have blubbered ; bye and bye he was dismissed to keep the 
water with another at B. Moaddam. 

Mohammed Aly, (by his surname) el-Mahjub, surveyor of the 
kellas between Tebuk and el-Medina, was an amiable bloody 
ruffian, a little broken-headed, his part good partly violent 
nature had been distempered (as many of their unquiet climb- 
ing spirits) in the Turkish school of government ; he was without 
letters. His family had inhabited a mountain country (he said, 
" of uncorrupted ancient manners ") in Algeria : in the conquest, 
rather than become subjects of the Nasara, they embarked at 
their own election in French government vessels, to be landed 
in Syria. There was a tradition amongst their ancestors, that 
" very anciently they occupied all that country about Maan, where 
also Moses fed the flocks of Jethro the prophet ; the B. Israel 
had dispossessed them." Entering the military service, he 
had fought and suffered with the Syrian troops, in a terrible 
jehad against the Muscovites, in the Caucasus, where he was 
twice wounded. The shot, it seemed to me, by his own showing, 
had entered from the backward, and still the old wounds vexed 
him in ill weather. Afterward, at the head of a small horse 
troop, he served in Palestine and the lands beyond Jordan, 
attaching himself to the fortunes of Mohammed Said, from 



MOHAMMED ALY. 91 

whom he had obtained his present office. The man, half 
ferocious trooper, could speak fair and reasonably in his better 
mind ; then as there are backwaters in every tide, he seemed 
humane : the best and the worst Moslemin can discourse very 
religiously. He held the valour of the Moghrebies to be in- 
comparable, it were perilous then to contrary him ; a tiger he 
was in his dunghill ill-humour, and had made himself formerly 
known on this road by his cruelties. Somewhile being lieutenant 
at Maan, he had hanged (as he vaunted) three men. Then, 
when it had been committed to him to build a vault over 
the spring head at the kella Medowwara, and make that water 
sure from all hostility of the Aarab, he took certain of them 
prisoners, sheykhs accused of plundering the Haj, and binding 
them, he fed them every day in the tower with two biscuits, and 
every day he caused to be ground a measure of meal in an hand- 
mill (which is of intolerable weight) upon their breasts ; until 
yielding to these extremities, which they bore sometime with 
manly fortitude, they had sent for that ransom which he would 
devour of them. A diseased senile body he was, full of ulcers, 
and past the middle age, so that he looked not to live long, his 
visage much like a fiend, dim with the leprosy of the soul and 
half fond ; he shouted when he spoke with a startling voice, as 
it might have been of the ghrol : of his dark heart ruled by so 
weak a head, we had hourly alarms in the lonely kella. Well 
could he speak (with a certain erudite utterance) to his purpose, 
in many or in few words. These Orientals study little else, as 
they sit all day idle at the coffee in their male societies : they 
learn in this school of infinite human observation to speak 
to the heart of one another. His tales seasoned with saws, which 
are the wisdom of the unlearned, we heard for more than two 
months, they were never ending. He told them so lively to the 
eye that they could not be bettered, and part were of his own 
motley experience. Of a licentious military tongue, and now in 
the shipwreck of a good understanding, with the bestial in- 
sane instincts and the like compunctions of a spent humanity, 
it seemed the jade might have been (if great had been his 
chance) another Tiberius senex. With all this, he was very de- 
vout as only they can be, and in his religion scrupulous ; it lay 
much upon his conscience to name the Nasrany Khalil, and 
he made shift to call me, for one Khalil, five times Ibrahim. 
He returned always with a wonderful solemnity to his prayers, 
wherein he found a sweet foretaste of Paradise ; this was all the 
solace here in the deserts of his corrupt mind. A caterpillar 
himself, he could censure the criminal Ottoman administration, 
and pinch at all their misdemeanours. At Damascus, he had his 



92 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

name inscribed in the register of French Algerian subjects ; he 
left this hole to creep into, if aught went hard with him, upon 
the side of the Dowla ; and in trouble any that can claim their 
protection in Turkish countries, are very nimble to run to the 
foreign consuls. 

The nomads have an ill opinion of Turkish Haj government, 
seeing the tyrannical and brutish behaviour of these pretended 
rulers, their paymasters. All townsmen contemn them again as 
the most abject of banded robbers. If any nomad be taken in a 
fault, the military command "Away with this Beduwy" is shouted 
with the voice of the destroying angel "and bind him to the gun- 
wheel.' ' Mohammed Aly was mad, in his Moorish pride, and of 
desperate resentment ; only the last year he durst contend here 
in the deserts, with his Haj Pasha. In a ground chamber of the 
kella are sealed government stores and deposits of the mukow- 
wems' furnitures : with the rest was sent in by the paymaster- 
Pasha a bag of reals, of the public money. When they came again, 
the Pasha sent his servant to receive the silver. The man, as 
he held it in his hand, imagining this purse to have leaked, for the 
Arabs are always full of these canine suspicions, began to accuse 
Mohammed Aly ; but the Moor, pulling out his scimitar, cut 
down the rash unarmed slave, flung him forth by the heels, and 
with frantic maledictions, shut up the iron door after him. The 
Pasha sent again, bidding Mohammed Aly come to him and 
answer for this outrage ; but the Syrian Moor, his heart yet 
boiling, swore desperately he would not go until his humour 
were satisfied. — "Away and say these words to the Pasha from 
Mohammed Aly, If Mohammed Said have cannon, so have I 
artillery upon the terrace of this kella, — by God Almighty 
we will hold out to the last ; and let him remember that we are 
Moghrdreba ! " This was a furious playing out friends and 
playing in mischief, but he trusted that his old service would 
assure him with the robust Pasha ; at the worst he would 
excuse himself, attesting his wounds suffered in the sacred cause 
of their religion ; and after all he could complain " Wellah, his 
head went not all times well, and that he was a Moghreby," 
that is one of choleric nature and a generous rashness : at 
the very worst he could defy them, proving that he was a 
stranger born and a French subject. His artillery (and such 
is wont to be the worth of an Arabic boast) were two very 
small rust-eaten pieces, which for their rudeness, might have 
been hammered by some nomad smith : years ago they had been 
brought from the Borj, an antique tower half a mile distant, 
towards the monuments, and were said to have served in old 
nomad warfare between Annezy and Harb tribesmen. 



THE KELLA. 93 

Before the departure of the Aarab, came their sheykh Motlog 
enquiring for me ; Wen-hu, wen-hu, ' where is he, this dowldny 
or government man ? ' He bounced my door up, and I saw a 
swarthy Beduin that stood to gaze lowering and strangely on one 
whom he took to be gomdny, an enemy. Mohammed Aly had 
said to them that I was a Sir Amin, some secretary sent down 
upon a government errand. This was a short illusion, for as 
the Moslems pray openly and Khalil was not seen to pray, it 
was soon said that I could not be of the religion. Mohammed 
Aly was a hater of every other than his own belief and very 
jealous of the growing despotism in the world of the perilous 
Nasara ; — thus they muse with a ferocious gloom over the 
decay of the militant Islam. Yet he could regard me pleasantly, 
as a philosopher, in whom was an indulgent natural opinion 
in all matter of religion. — These were the inhabitants of the 
kella, a tower seventy feet upon a side, square built. Lurid 
within are these water-stations, and all that I entered are 
of one fashion of building. In the midst is the well-court, 
and about it the stable, the forage and store chambers. Stairs 
lead upon the gallery which runs round above, whereupon in 
the north and south sides are the rows of small stone dwelling 
chambers. Staircases lead from this gallery to the terrace roof, 
where the garrison may suddenly run up in any need to the 
defence of the kella. 

This tower is built about an ancient well, the Bir en- 
Ndga where the miraculous she-camel had been watered ; it is 
the only water that a religious man may drink, in the opinion 
of their doctors, in " the subverted country : " but by leaking 
of the cesspool, I fear this well is an occasion of grave vesical 
diseases. The hir, as the other ancient wells that remain in 
the plain, is lined with dry-built masonry, twenty-six feet deep 
to the ground water, which comes up warm and reeking in a 
winter morning, at a temperature of 66 Fahr. ; — I never found 
well water not lukewarm in Arabia ! The Ullema teach that 
men's prayers may hardly rise to Heaven from the soil of Medain 
Salih, and the most perfect of them carry their water over from 
the last stages, that even of the naga's well they refuse to drink. 
The kella birket without to the southward, measures eighteen 
by twenty-two paces ; the depth is three fathoms. Two mules 
from Damascus wrought singly, turning the rude mill-machine 
of the well, four and four hours daily ; but that was so badly 
devised, that nearly a third part of the drawn water as it came 
up in the buckets, which are hoops of chipwood like corn mea- 
sures, was spilled back again ; and good part of that which flows 
out is lost, for all the birket floor leaked or the whole might be 



94 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

filled in ten or twelve days. For the renewing of the well gear 
of this and the next kellas stores are brought down here in every 
Haj from Damascus. 

It is remarkable that all the haj -road kellas are said to 
have been built by Nasara, nearly to Medina ; Christian 
masons a few years before repaired this tower of Medain Salih ; 
I was not then the first Christian man seen within these distant 
kella walls : they were remembered to have been quiet and 
hospitable persons. The kella foundations are of stones without 
mortar laid upon the weak loamy bottom ; the walls above are 
rude courses of stones raised in clay ; the work is only pointed 
with mortar. Stone for burning lime must A be fetched upon the 
backs of hired Beduin camels from Jebel Iss, which is a sand- 
stone mountain overlaid with limestone in a wady of the same 
name, two journeys distant under the Harreyry A or little Harra, 
below el- Ally. This is not that greater W. el Iss of antiquity, 
wherein are seen many springs with dom palms and the ruins 
of villages, which descends from the Jeheyna country, beginning 
a long journey above Ydnba, and goes out in the W. el-Humth 
or W. Jizzl. 

In Damascus I had heard of the pleasant site of this kella with 
its garden of palms. Here were three grown female trees, with 
one male stem which made them fruitful. In the orchard plot 
closed with a clay wall, Haj Nejm passed his holiday hours in this 
immense Beduin wilderness, and raised his salads, his leeks and 
other pot-herbs to give a savour to his Arab messes. The tower 
stands solitary half a mile before the mountain Ethlib, almost in 
the midst of the valley-plain of Medain. This is Hijr of the 
koran, el-Hejr of the Beduins. The place is r Ey pa of Ptolemy's 
geography ; in his time an emporium of the caravan road between 
el- Yemen and Syria which is since become the derb el-haj. From 
the kella roof two may be descried of the greatest monuments, 
and the plain is seen as enclosed by cliffs. Only past Ethlib the 
plain appears open upon the left hand, with shelves of sand 
riding upon the short horizon to the south-eastward : it is 
there the haj road passes. Between us and the solitude of the 
desert, are the gate Arabs, certain nomad families whose tents 
were always pitched before the iron door of the kella. They 
are poor Fej(k)ir households, (which wanting camels cannot 
follow the wandering camps of their tribesmen,) and a half 
dozen ragged tents of Fehjdt, a small very poor kindred of 
Heteym, and despised almost as outcasts ; they are clients of 
the Fukara and from ancient times, at the service of the kella, 
and foragers like the Sweyfly at el-Akhdar, selling their camel 
loads of harsh knot-grass, to the pilgrimage caravan, for a 



THE GOLD AND FB AN KIN CENSE BO AD. 95 

certain government price, which is set at a real. Of the 
Fehjat, Sweyfly, and the poor Humeydat of Tebuk, is chanted 
a ribald rime in the Haj "We have companied with the daughters 
of them for a crown." Another poor sort of haj foragers in 
these parts are the Bedowna, they are also Heteym ; their 
home district is Jebel Dokhan below el- Ally : they are fifty 
families, sellers here, and at Sawra, of the same tall grass kind, 
which grows in low sandy places under the desert mountains ; 
the thurrm is not browsed by the small Beduin camels. The 
Arabs blame this country as Beled ej-jua, ' a land of hunger ' ; 
households seldom here cook anything, a handful of clotted 
dates is the most of their commons : also they name it Beled 
el-haramieh, ' a land of robbers.' This plain is a path of many 
ghrazzus (ridings on warfare) of hostile tribesmen, so that few 
days ever pass without alarms. 

The Meddin Sdlih are, in the koran fable, houses hewn in 
the rocks of the idolatrous tribe Thamud of the ancient 
Arabians, which were destroyed already, according to their fan- 
tastic chronicles, in the days of Jethro, God's messenger to the 
Midianites. Jethro, in the koran, preaches to his incredulous 
tribesmen of the judgments that had overtaken other peoples 
sometime despisers of holy prophets. Hejra in Ptolemy and 
Pliny, is an oasis staple town of the gold and frankincense 
caravan road from Arabia the Happy. In the next genera- 
tions it must needs decay, as this trade road to the North was 
disused more and more and at last nearly abandoned for the sea 
carriage. In Mohammed's time, only five hundred years later, 
the desolate city had so long passed away that the name was 
become a marvellous fable. Mohammed going by, in the Mecca 
caravans, was doubtless moved seeing from the road the archaic 
hewn architecture of those " desolate places " : (no one can con- 
sider without emotion the severe and proud lineaments of these 
solemn ranges of caverns !) also he beheld in them a divine 
testimony of the popular tradition. The high sententious fan- 
tasy of the ignorant Arabs, the same that will not trust the 
heart of man, is full of infantile credulity in all religious matter ; 
and already the young religionist was rolling the sentiment 
of a divine mission in his unquiet spirit. In his prophetic 
life the destruction of Thamud, joined with the like pre- 
tended cases of Aad, of Midian and of the cities of Lot, that 
had " rejected the apostles of Ullah," is become a capital argu- 
ment in the koran ; words of present persuasion of fear not 
easily to be answered, since their falsity could only be ascer- 
tained by the event. El-Hijr is entitled a chapter in the 
koran, and one hundred and fourteen being all the koran 



96 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

chapters, this legend is remembered in more than twenty of 
them. 

The dreary Semitic fable of Medain is in this sort : Aad 
defeated Thamud (ancient peoples in el- Yemen or Arabia 
Felix). Thamud emigrating northward alighted upon the plain 
el-Hejr, under mount Ethlib. In later generations God's 
warning is come to these sinners, which of a vain confi- 
dence had hewed them dwellings in the rocks, by the mouth 
of Salih, a prince of their own nation. The idolatrous Tha- 
mudites required of him a sign : ' Let the mountain, they said, 
bring forth a she-camel ten months gone with young, and they 
would believe him.' Then the mountain wailed, as in pangs to be 
delivered, and there issued from the rocky womb that she-camel 
or naga which they had desired of God's prophet. Two months 
after when she put down her calf, (for they go twelve months,) her 
milk sufficed to nourish all the people of the plain. But the 
prodigious camel pasturing in the wilderness affrighted their 
own cattle, moreover at her every third days' watering, she drunk 
up all the well-waters of the malicious Thamudites. They j 
growing weary of her, certain of them, wicked men, conspired to ; 
bring her to mischance, and she was slain by their arrows, (as be- 
fore said,) in the passage called Mubrak en-Naga. It repented the ; 
people of Thamud when the divine camel was dead ; the prophet j 
bade them bring in her erring calf, and haply the fault might be I 
forgiven them. But the calf lowed fearfully. " The lo wings, said j 
Salih, are three days ; remain in your dwellings, and after that j 
the calamity will come upon you." At that time there went 
forth wicked men to lie in wait for Neby Salih, but were baffled 
of angels. The days ended there fell a fearful wind, sarsar, the \ 
earth shook, a voice was heard from heaven, and on the morrow j 
the idolatrous people were found lying upon their faces (as j 
the nomads use to slumber) all dead corpses, and the land was j 
empty of them as it had never been inhabited. A like evil I 
ending is told of Aad, and of the Midianites. The Syrian 
Moslems show a mountainous crag (el-Howwdra) in this plain, i 
which opened her bosom and received the orphan calf again. 

A week now we had been shut in the kella, and were still I 
weary of our journeys from Syria. Mohammed Aly would not 
let me go forth alone : but he had spoken with Zeyd, a principal 
Beduin sheykh, who after other days would return and accompany 
me to the monuments. Haj Nejm said of Medain, "It is a marvel, 
that you may view their suks, and even the nail-holes whereupon 
were hanged their stuffs over the shop doors, and in many of 
their shops the shelves, spences and little cellars where they laid 



THE JUDGMENT OF THAMUD. 97 

up their wares ; and, wellah, you may see all full of the 
bones of Kom Thamud ; they were kufjdr, they would not 
believe in God until they fell down dead men, when the blast 
was come upon them." The worthy old Moor spoke between a 
confused simplicity and half an honest thought that there failed 
something in his argument : " and (said he to the aga) knowest 
thou a new thing was found of late ; certain of the women 
searching for gunsalt (saltpetre) in the ' houses,' have lighted 
upon some drug-like matter, which cast on the coals yields an 
odour of bakhur (frankincense). Wellah, they have sold it for 
such at el- Ally." He went and fetched us small crumbling pieces, 
they were brown and whitish ; " and see you here, said he, three 
kinds, bakhur, and and mubdrak." He cast them in the hearth 
and there rose a feeble earthy smoke, with mouldy ill-smelling 
sweetness of incense. Frankincense is no more of Arabia 
Felix, and yet the perfume is sovereign in the estimation of all 
Arabians. The most is brought now in the pilgrimage from the 
Malay Islands to Mecca ; and from thence is dispersed through- 
out the Arabian Peninsula, almost to every household. The odour 
comforts the religious soul and embalms the brain : that we think 
the incense-odour religious, is by great likelihood the gentile 
tradition remaining to us of this old gold and frankincense road. 
The Arabians cast a morsel in a chafing dish, which is sent 
round from hand to hand in their coffee drinkings, especially in 
the oases villages in any festival days : each person, as it comes 
to him in the turn, hides this under his mantle a moment, to 
make his clothing well smelling ; then he snuffs the sweet reek 
once or twice, and hands down the perfume dish to his neighbour. 
The Beduins had departed. We sat one of these evenings 
gathered in the small coffee chamber (which is upon the gallery 
above), about the winter fire of dry acacia timber, when between 
the clatter of the coffee pestle we thought we heard one hailing 
under the loop-hole ! all listened ; — an hollow voice called wearily 
to us. Mohammed Aly shouted down to him in Turkish, which 
he had learned in his soldier's life : he was answered in the 
same language. " Ah," said the aga withdrawing his head, " it is 
some poor hajjy ; up Hasan, and thou run down Mohammed, 
open the door : " and they hastened with a religious willingness to 
let the hapless pilgrim in. They led up to us a poor man of a 
good presence, somewhat entered in years ; he was almost naked 
and trembled in the night's cold. It was a Turkish derwish 
who had walked hither upon his feet from his place in Asia 
Minor, it might be a distance of six hundred miles ; but though 
robust, his human sufferance was too little for the long way. 
He had sickened a little after Maan, and the Haj breaking up 
d. t. 7 



98 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

from Medowwara, left this weary wight still slumbering in the | 
wilderness ; and he had since trudged through the deserts those 
two hundred miles, on the traces of the caravan, relieved only at 
the kellas ! The lone and broken wayfarer could no more over- 
take the hajjaj, which removed continually before him by forced 
marches. Mohammed Aly brought him an Aleppo felt cloth, in 
which the poor derwish who had been stripped by Aarab only 
three hours before Medain, might wrap himself from the cold. 

Kindly they all now received him and, while his supper was 
being made ready, they bade him be comforted, saying, The next 
year, and it pleased Ullah, he might fulfil the sacred pilgrim- 
age ; now he might remain with them, and they would find him, 
in these two and a half months, until the Haj coming again. But | 
he would not ! He had left his home to be very unfortunate 
in strange countries ; he should not see the two blissful cities, I 
he was never to return. The palmer sat at our coffee fire 
with a devout thankfulness and an honest humility. Re- 
stored to the fraternity of mankind, he showed himself to be I 
a poor man of very innocent and gentle manners. When we | 
were glad again, one of the gate-nomads, taking up the music of 
the desert, opened his lips to make us mirth, sternly braying 
his Beduin song to the grave chord of the rabeyby. This was 
Wady of the Fejir Beduins, a comely figure in the firelight com- 
pany, of a black visage. He had lived a year at Damascus of 
late, and was become a town-made cozening villain, under the 
natural semblance of worth. Of sheykhly blood and noble easy 
countenance, he seemed to be a child of fortune, but the wretch 
had not camels ; his tent stood therefore continually pitched 
before the kella : more than the flies, he haunted the tower I 
coffee chamber, where, rolling his great white eyeballs, he fawned 
hour by hour with all his white teeth upon Mohammed Aly, 
assenting with Ullah Akhbar ! "God most high," to all the 
sapient saws of this great one of the kella. 

Lapped in his cloth, the poor derwish sat a day over, in this! 
sweetness of reposing from his past fatigues. The third morrow 
come, the last of the customary hospitality, they were already 
weary of him ; Mohammed Aly, putting a bundle of meal in 
his hand and a little water-skin upon his shoulders, brought 
him forth, and showing the direction bade him follow as he| 
could the footprints of the caravan, and God-speed. Infinite 
are the miseries of the Haj ; religion is a promise of good 
things to come, to poor folk, and many among them are half 
-destitute persons. This pain, the words of that fatal Arabian, 
professing himself to be the messenger of Ullah, have imposed 
upon ten thousands every year of afflicted mankind ! 



LOST DERWISHES. 99 

In the time of my former being at Maan there came a young 
Arab derwish, of those inhabiting the mixed Arabic-Persian 
border countries, beyond Bagdad. This " son of the way," clad 
only in a loose cotton tunic, arrived then alone afoot from 
Mecca, (more than six hundred miles distant,) almost six months 
after the returning Haj. He had been relieved at the kellas, 
and sometimes where he passed he met with Aarab and lodged 
awhile in their encampments. I asked him, How could he find his 
path and not be stripped by the Beduins ? Answer: "0 man, I have 
no more than this shirt upon my shoulders and the wooden bowl 
in my hand." Strong and ruddy he was, it seemed he had not yet 
begun to be weary : from Damascus he was yet two hundred and 
fifty miles ; after that he must trudge other two months with 
some caravan to Mesopotamia, and foot it yet far beyond to his 
own home. Though the journey be never so great to Medina 
and Mecca, they will cheerfully undertake it upon their feet and 
with the greatest levity ! This young man, left behind sick 
at Mecca, lay long in an hospital, which is there of pious founda- 
tion, for the receipt of strangers. — Any who die destitute in the 
holy town, are buried of the alms which are found in the 
temple chest : upon any naked wretches is bestowed a shirt- 
cloth of the same public benefit. 

Of the derelicts of the Haj was another already harboured in 
the kella, a poor soul of Emesa (in Upper Syria), that had been 
before of the trooping police service. On foot, without a piece of 
silver, he had put himself in the way to make his pilgrimage, and 
hired himself for diet to a camel master, to serve the camels. 
Hard is the service, he must waken at night after the long day 
marches. When he had gone five hundred miles his ankles 
swelled : he halted yet a march or two, then he let himself sink 
down by the wayside few miles from Medain and the Haj passed 
by him. The Pasha himself found the wretch as he came riding in 
the rear ; " What fellow art thou ? " said he. "It may please 
your lordship my limbs can bear me no more ; mercy Sir, I have 
been in the soldiery, or I shall be dead here." — " Up ! (cried 
the military chief) rouse thee, march ! " and the Turk laid hardly 
upon him with his hide whip. " Alas ! I cannot go a step, 
and though your good worship should beat me till I die." The 
Pasha then bade a rider of the Ageyl take this man upon his 
thelul and carry him to the kella : there he might remain till the 
Haj returned and the warden should give him his rations. Nasar 
was the man's name, a torpid fellow and unwelcome, since they 
were bound to entertain him, to the kella crew ; after the three 
days of hospitality they banished him from the coffee chamber 
and gave him quarters like a beast in the hay-house below. I 

7—2 



ioo TBAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

cured the poor man, who was very grateful to me ; for the little 
vigour of his blood, nourished only of rice and water, he was 
not well before the Haj returning. 

Beduins soon came in who had seen our derwish slowly travel- 
ling upon the lower haj road : clear was the weather, the winter's 
sun made hot mid-days, but the season was too chill for such a 
weary man to lie abroad by night. Weeks after other Beduins 
arrived from Medina, and we enquired if they had seen aught 
of our derwish ? They hearing how the man was clad, answered 
" Ay, billah, we saw him lying dead, and the felt was under 
him ; it was by the way-side, by Sawra, (not far down,) almost 
in sight of the kella." Sorry were his benefactors, that he 
whom they lately dismissed alive lay now a dead carcase in 
the wilderness ; themselves might so mishap another day in the 
great deserts. All voices cried at once, " He perished for thirst ! " 
They supposed he had poured out his water-skin, which must 
hang wearily on his feeble neck in the hot noons. The sight 
was not new to the nomads, of wretched passengers fallen 
down dying upon the pilgrim way and abandoned ; they often- 
times (Beduins have said it in my hearing) see the hyenas stand 
by glaring and gaping to devour them, as ever the breath 
should be gone out of the warm body. They pass by : — in Beduins 
is no pious thought of unpaid charity to bury strangers. — 
Mohammed Aly told me there is no Haj in which some fail 
not and are left behind to die. They suffer most between the 
Harameyn, " where, Khalil ! the mountains stand walled up 
to heaven upon either hand !" In the stagnant air there is no 
covert from the torment of the naked sun : as the breathless 
simum blows upon them they fall grovelling and are suffocated. 
There is water by the way, even where the heat is greatest, but 
the cursed Beduins will not suffer the wayfaring man to drink, 
except they may have new and new gifts from the Turkish 
pashas : there is no remedy, nor past this valley of death, is 
yet an end of mortal evils. The camping ground at Mecca 
lies too far from the place, the swarm of poor strangers 
must seek them hired dwelling chambers in the holy city : 
thus many are commonly stived together in a very narrow room . 
The most arriving feeble from great journeys, with ill humours 
increased in their bodies, new and horrible disorders must needs 
breed among them : — from the Mecca pilgrimage has gone forth 
many a general pestilence, to the furthest of mankind ! 

Enormous indeed has been the event of Mohammed's re- 
ligious faction. The old Semitic currencies in religion were 
uttered new under that bastard stamp of the (expedite, factious, 
and liberal) Arabian spirit, and digested to an easy sober rule of 



THE VERY PERILOUS MECCA RELIGION. 101 

human life, (a pleasant carnal congruity looking not above 
men's possibility). Are not Mohammed's saws to-day the mother 
belief of a tenth part of mankind ? What had the world been ? 
if the tongue had not wagged, of this fatal Ishmaelite ! Even 
a thin-witted religion that can array an human multitude, is 
a main power in the history of the unjust world. Perilous 
every bond which can unite many of the human millions, for 
living and dying ! Islam and the commonwealth of Jews are as 
great secret conspiracies, friends only of themselves and to all 
without of crude iniquitous heart, unfaithful, implacable. — But 
the pre-Islamic idolatrous religion of the kaaba was cause that 
the soon ripe Mawmetry rotted not soon again. 

The heart of their dispersed religion is always Mecca, from 
whence the Moslems of so many lands every year return 
fanaticised. From how far countries do they assemble to the 
sacred festival ; the pleasant contagion of the Arabs' religion has 
spread nearly as far as the pestilence : — a battle gained and 
it had overflowed into Europe. The nations of Islam, of a 
barbarous fox-like understanding, and persuaded in their religion, 
that " knowledge is only of the koran," cannot now come upon 
any way that is good. 

Other days passed, Mohammed Aly saying every evening ' on 
the morrow he would accompany me to the monuments.' These 
were Turkish promises, I had to deal with one who in his heart 
already devoured the Nasrany : in Syria he had admired that 
curious cupidity of certain Frankish passengers in the purchasing 
of " antiquities." " What wilt thou give me, said he, to see 
the monuments ? and remember, I only am thy protection in 
this wilderness. There be some in the kella, that would kill 
thee except I forbade them : by Almighty God, I tell thee the 
truth." I said ' That he set the price of his services, and I 
would deliver him a bill upon Damascus : ' — but distant promises 
will hardly be accepted by any Arab, their world is so faithless 
and they themselves make little reckoning of the most solemn 
engagements. 

Now came Zeyd, a sheykh of the Fejir Beduins, riding upon 
a dromedary from the desert, with his gunbearer seated behind 
him, and the sheykh's young son riding upon his led mare. 
Zeyd had been to town in Damascus and learned all the craft of 
the Ottoman manners, to creep by bribes into official men's 
favours. Two years before when his mare foaled, and it was 
not a filly, (they hardly esteem the male worth camel-milk,) this 
nomad fox bestowed his sterile colt upon the Moorish wolf 
Mohammed Aly ; the kellajy had ridden down on this now 



102 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

strong young stallion from Syria. Zeyd had seen nothing 
again but glozing proffers : now was this occasion of the Nasrany, 
and they both looked that I should pay the shot between them. 
" Give Zeyd ten pound, and Zeyd will mount thee, Khalil, upon 
his mare, and convey thee round to all the monuments." The 
furthest were not two miles from the tower, and the most are 
within a mile's distance. Zeyd pretended there was I know not 
what to see besides 'at Bir el-Ghrannem, where we must have 
taken a rafik of Billi Aarab.' Only certain it is that they 
reckon all that to the overthrown country of el-Hejr which lies 
between Mubrak en-Naga and Bir el-Ghrannem, which is thirty 
miles nearly ; and by the old trade-road, along, there are ruins of 
villages down even to el-Medina. But the nomads say with one 
voice, there are not anywhere in these parts byut or beban, 
that is, chambers in the rock, like to those of el-Hejr or Medain 
Salih. 

Zeyd had been busy riding round to his tribesmen's tents 
and had bound them all with the formula, J Irak " I am thy 
neighbour." If I refused Zeyd, I might hire none of them. The 
lot had fallen, that we should be companions for a long time to 
come. Zeyd was a swarthy nearly black sheykh of the desert, 
of mid stature and middle age, with a hunger-bitten stern 
visage. So dark a colour is not well seen by the Arabs, who in 
these uplands are less darkish-brown than ruddy. They think 
it resembles the ignoble blood of slave races ; and therefore 
even crisp and ringed hair is a deformity in their eyes. We 
may remember in the Canticles, the paramour excuses the 
swarthiness of her beautiful looks, " I am black but comely, ye 
daughters of Jerusalem, as the booths of the Beduw, as the tent- 
cloths of Solomon ; " she magnifies the ruddy whiteness of her 
beloved. Dark, the privation of light, is the hue of death, 
(mawt el-aswad) and, by similitude, of calamity and evil ; the 
wicked man's heart is accounted black (kalb el-aswad). Accord- 
ing to this fantasy of theirs, the Judge of all the earth in the 
last judgment hour will hold an Arabian expedite manner of 
audit, not staying to parley with every soul in the sea of 
generations, for the leprosy of evil desert rising in their visages, 
shall appear manifestly in wicked persons as an horrible black- 
ness. In the gospel speech, the sheep shall be sundered 
from the goats, — wherein is some comparison of colour — and the 
just shall shine forth as the sunlight. The Arabs say of an un- 
spotted human life, kalb-hu abidth, white is his heart : we in like 
wise say candid. Zeyd uttered his voice in the deepest tones 
that I have heard of human throat ; such a male light Beduin 
figure some master painter might have portrayed for an 



ZEYD. 103 

Ishmaelite of the desert. Hollow his cheeks, his eyes looked 
austerely, from the lawless land of famine, where his most 
nourishment was to drink coffee from the morning, and tobacco ; 
and where the chiefest Beduin virtue is es-subbor, a courageous for- 
bearing and abiding of hunger. " Aha wellah, (said Zeyd,) el- 
Aarab fasidin the nomads are dissolute and so are the Dowla " : 
the blight was in his own heart ; this Beduish philosopher 
looked far out upon all human things with a tolerant incredulity. 
A. sheykh among his tribesmen of principal birth, he had yet no 
honourable estimation ; his hospitality was miserable, and that is 
a reproach to the nomad dwellers in the empty desert. His was 
a high and liberal understanding becoming a mejlis man who 
had sat in that perfect school of the parliament of the tribe, 
from his youth, nothing in Zeyd was barbarous and uncivil ; 
his carriage was that haughty grace of the wild creatures. In 
him I have not seen any spark of fanatical ill-humour. He 
could speak with me smilingly of his intolerant countrymen ; 
for himself he could well imagine that sufficient is Ullah to the 
governance of the world, without fond man's meddling. This 
manly man was not of the adventurous brave, or rather he 
would put nothing rashly in peril. Mesquin was his policy at 
home, which resembled a sordid avarice ; he was wary as a 
Beduin more than very far-sighted. Zeyd's friendship was 
true in the main, and he was not to be feared as an enemy. 
Zeyd could be generous where it cost him naught, and of his 
sheykhly indolent prudence, he was not hasty to meddle in any 
unprofitable matter. 

Zeyd (that was his desert guile) had brought five mouths 
to the kella : this hospitality was burdensome to his hosts, and 
Mohammed Aly, who thought the jest turned against him, 
came on the morrow to my chamber with a grave counten- 
ance. He asked me ' Did I know that all this corn must be 
carried down upon camels' backs from Damascus ? ' I said, not 
knowing their crafty drifts, that I had not called them ; — and he 
aloud, " Agree together or else do not detain him, Khalil ; this is a 
sheykh of Aarab, knowest thou not that every Beduin's heart is 
with his household, and he has no rest in absence, because of the 
cattle which he has left in the open wilderness ? " I asked, were 
it not best, before other words, that I see the monuments ? 
' It was reasonable,' he said, ' and Zeyd should bring me to 
the next beban.' — " And Khalil ! it is an unheard-of thing, 
any Christian to be seen in these countries," (almost at the door 
of the holy places). I answered, laying my hand upon the rude 
stones of the kella building, ''But these courses witness for me, 
raised by Christian men's hands." — " That is well spoken, and we 



io4 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 



are all here become thy friends : Moslem or Nasrany, Khalil 
is now as one of us ; wellah, we would not so suffer another. 
But go now with Zeyd, and afterward we will make an accord 
with him, and if not I may send you out myself to see the 
monuments with some of the kella." 

We came in half a mile by those ancient wells, now a water- 
ing place of the country Beduins. They are deep as the well in 
the kella, ten or twelve feet large at the mouth ; the brinks are 
laid square upon a side, as if they had been platforms of the 







\x*i. 



The first monument entered. 



!°5 









I f jlfffil 



106 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

old wheel-work of irrigation. The well-lining of rude stone 
courses, without mortar, is deeply scored, (who may look upon 
the like without emotion ?) by the soft cords of many nomad 
generations. Now I had sight (v. p. 105) at little distance, of a first 
monument, and another hewn above, like the head of some 
vast frontispiece, where yet is but a blind door, little entering 
into the rock, without chamber. This ambitious sculpture, 
seventy feet wide, is called Kasr el-Bint, " the maiden's bower." 
It is not, as they pretend, inaccessible ; for ascending some ancient 
steps, entailed in the further end of the cliff, my unshod com- 
panions have climbed over all the rocky brow. I saw that tall 
nightmare frontispiece below, of a crystalline symmetry and 
solemnity, and battled with the strange half-pinnacles of the 
Petra monuments ; also this rock is the same yellow-grey soft 
sandstone with gritty veins and small quartz pebbles. Kasr, in 
the plural kassur, has commonly the sense in Arabia of ' stable 
habitation,' whether clay or stone, and opposite to beyt shaar, 
the hair-cloth booth, or removable house, of the nomads. Thus, 
even the cottages of clay, seen about outlying seed-grounds in 
the wilderness, and not continually inhabited, are named kassur. 
At Hdyil and er-Ridth the prince's residence is named el-Kasr, as 
it were " the castle." Kasr is also in some desert villages, a cluster 
of houses, enclosed in one court wall ; thus they say of the 
village Semira " she is three kassur." Any strong building for 
defence and security, (such holds are very common in Arabia,) 
is called gella, for kella. Borj (-rrvpy-), tower of defence, manifestly 
a foreign word, I have not heard in Nejd Arabia. 

Backward from the Borj rock, we arrived under a principal 
monument (v. p. 104) ; in the face I saw a table and inscription, 
and a bird ! which are proper to the Hejr frontispiece ; the width of 
sculptured architecture with cornices and columns is twenty-two 
feet. — I mused what might be the sleeping riddle of those strange 
crawling letters which I had come so far to seek ! The whole is 
wrought in the rock ; a bay has been quarried in the soft cliff, and 
in the midst is sculptured the temple-like monument. The as- 
pect is Corinthian, the stepped pinnacles (& v. fig. p. 107) — 
an Asiatic ornament, but here so strange to European eyes — I 
have seen used in their clay house-building at Hayil (v. the 

fig.). Flat side-pilasters are 
as the limbs of this body of 
architecture ; the chapiters 
of a singular severe design, 
hollowed and square at once, 
are as all those before seen at 
Petra. In the midst of this counterfeited temple-face, is sculptured 




\ 



THE MONUMENTS. 



107 



a stately porch, with the ornaments of architecture. Entering, I 
found but a rough-hewn cavernous chamber, not high, not re- 
sponding to the dignity of the frontispiece : (we are in a sepulchre). 
I saw in this dim room certain long mural niches or loculi ; all the 
floor lies full of driven sand. I thought then, with the help 
of a telescope, I might transcribe the epigraph, faintly appearing 
in the sun ; but the plague of flies at every moment filled my 
eyes : such clouds of them, said the Arabs, were because no rain 
had fallen here in the last years. 

Sultry was that mid-day winter sun, glancing from the 
sand, and stagnant the air, under the sun-beaten monuments ; 
those loathsome insects were swarming in the odour of the 
ancient sepulchres. Zeyd would no further, he said the sun was 
too hot, he was already weary. We returned through the Borj 




A frontispiece, Borj rocks. 



rocks ; and in that passage I saw a few more monuments (v. fig. 
and plate), which are also remarkable among the frontispieces 
at el-Hejr : and lying nigh the caravan camp and the kella they 
are those first visited by any curious hajjies. Under the porch 
of one of them and over the doorway are sculptured as sup- 
porters, some four-footed beast ; the like are seen in none other. 
The side pedestal ornaments upon another are like griffons ; 



108 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

these also are singular. The tablet is here, and in some other , 
adorned with a fretwork flower (perhaps pomegranate) of six 
petals. Over a third doorway the effigy of a bird is slenderly 
sculptured upon the tablet, in low relief, the head yet remaining. 
Every other sculptured bird of these monuments we see wrought 
in high natural relief, standing upon a pedestal, sculptured upon 
the frontispiece wall, which springs from the ridge of the pedi- 
ment : but among them all, not a head remains ; whether it be 
they were wasted by idle stone-casts of the generations of herds- 
men, or the long course of the weather. Having now entered 
many, I perceived that all the monument chambers were sepul- 
chral (see the plate). The mural loculi in the low hewn walls of 
these rudely four-square rooms, are made as shallow shelves, in 
length, as they might have been measured to the human body, 
from the child to the grown person ; yet their shallowness is 
such, that they could not serve, I suppose, to the receipt of the 
dead. In the rock floors are seen grave-pits, sunken side by 
side, full of men's bones, and bones are strewed upon the sanded 
floors. A loathsome mummy odour, in certain monuments, 
is heavy in the nostrils ; we thought our cloaks smelled 
villanously when we had stayed within but few minutes. In 
another of these monuments, Beyt es-Sheykh, I saw the sand 
floor full of rotten clouts, shivering in every wind, and taking 
them up, I found them to be those dry bones' grave-clothes ! 

" Khalil," said Mohammed Aly, " I counsel thee to give Zeyd 
three hundred piastres." I consented, but the sheykh had no 
mind to be satisfied with less than a thousand. If I had yielded 
then to their fantastic cupidity, the rumour would have raised 
the country and made my future travels most dangerous. But 
Zeyd departing, I put a little earnest gold into his hand, that 
he might not return home scorned ; and he promised to come 
for me at the time of the returning Haj, to carry me to dwell 
with him among the Beduw : Zeyd hoped that my vaccinating 
skill might be profitable to himself. The aga had another 
thought, he coveted my gun, which was an English cavalry 
carbine : a high value is set in these unquiet countries on all 
good weapons. " And so you give me this, Khalil, I will send 
you every day with some of the kella till you have seen all you 
would of the monuments ; and I will send you, to see more of 
these things, to el- Ally : and, further, would you to Ibn Rashid, 
I will procure even to send you thither." 

I went out next with some of the kella to the Kasr el-Bint 
beban (v. p. 109). The beban ' row of doors,' are ranges of frontis- 
pieces upon both sides round of this long crag ; the bird is seen 



109 




\V1 Wm 










-ft ■ 



I:! iVl 




no 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 



upon not a few of them and the epitaph. These are some of 
the most stately architectural caverns at el-Hejr, the floors are 
full of men's bones ; but not all of them. Showing me a tall 
monument, " This (said my companions) is the beyt of the father 
of the bint, and look, Khalil ! here is another, the beyt of the 
sheykh's bondman, where they all perished together." In this 
last I saw the most strewed bones : they bade me admire 
in them the giant stature of Kom Thamud. I saw them 
to be ordinary ; but they see in matter of religion less as men 
with waking eyes than dreaming. Bare rock floors are found 
in some chambers ; the loculi are not found in all. Near the 
old hewn stair, in the end of the crag, is a double irregular 
chamber, and this only might seem not sepulchral ; yet upon 
the party wall is a rude sepulchral inscription (Appendix no. 17). 
We crossed then to visit the middle rocks (I distinguish them 
in such manner for clearness), where are many more frontispieces 
and their caverns, but less stately (here are no sculptured 
eagles, the stone also is softer, the cliff is lower), hewn in all 

the face of the crag about. I 
found here an epitaph tablet 
above a door, banked up with 
blown sand, so that a man might 
reach to it with his hands. 
Amongst them is seen an incon- 
siderable monument abandoned 
in the beginning, where only the 
head of the niche and the upper 
parts are wrought out (see the 
fig.). From thence we came to 
that lofty frontispiece within view 
from the kella, Beyt es-Sdny, ' the 
smith's house.' They showed me 
1 the smith's blood,' which is but 
a stain of iron-rust, high upon 
the battlements. ' This sany, say 
the nomads, dishonoured the bint or maiden daughter of the 
sheykh of The Cities. Seeing her grow great with child, the 
sheykh, her father, was moved to take cruel vengeance ; then the 
valiant smith sallied with his spear to meet them, and in the 
floor of the sheykh's bondman (that we have seen full of human 
bones), they all fell down slain.' The porch is simple, and that 
is marred, as it were with nail-holes, those which Haj Nejm 
had mentioned ; the like we may see about the doorways of some 
few other monuments (v. fig. p. 112). [Mr. James Fergusson 
tells me that such holes might be made for pins by which 




v: 



ir ' i iifi!i , i ;; '-:i ! i l :^ji i !i TT n 

ii^iiiiiililii'llliili^ 



II I 



i irlfefe 






5* :>:«?:.*& 



^ 



£ IS 



*I$ 



112 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A, 



wooden cornices have been fastened in a few frontispieces, where 
the stone was faulty.] 




r 



We visited then the western rocks, K'ssur or Kassur B'iheyny 
(v. p. Ill) ; — this is a name as well of all the Hejr monuments, 
" save only the Beyt es-Sany." There are many more fronti- 
spieces in the irregular cliff face and bays of this crag, of the 
same factitious hewn architecture, not a few with eagles, some 
are without epitaphs ; in some are seen epitaph tablets yet 
unwritten. Certain frontispieces are seen here nearly wasted 
away and effaced by the weather. 

The crags full of these monuments are " the Cities of 
Salih." We were now five hours abroad : my companions, 
armed with their long matchlocks, hardly suffered me to linger 
in any place a breathing- while, saying "It is more than thou 
canst think a perilous neighbourhood ; from any of these 
rocks and chambers there might start upon us hostile Beduins." 
The life of the Arabians is full of suspicion ; they turned their 
heads with continual apprehension, gazing everywhere about 
them : also Haj Nejm having once shed blood of the Welad Aly, 
was ever in dread to be overtaken without his kella. In this 
plain-bottom where we passed, between cliffs and monuments, 
are seen beds of strewed potsherds and broken glass. (See 
the Map.) We took up also certain small copper pieces 
called by the Beduins himmarit (perhaps Himyaridt) of rusted 
ancient money. Silver pieces and gold are only seldom found 
by the Aarab in ground where the camels have wallowed. 
A villager of el-Ally thirty years before found in a stone 
pot, nearly a bushel of old silver coinage. Also two W. Aly 
tribesmen, one of whom I knew, had found another such treasure 



J 




•,J 


^ 


*J5 <rt 


sr 


^ s 


N^ 


J 


Vs. 


<u 




^ 





*< 




/^led'na 



\iO 



miles ne 



8 rlyJ 



/7 



5 ^ 

I? 







tn 



fill 
ifl 

*«! 

■"ill 






THE OLD TRADE ROAD MONEY. 



ii3 



in late years. Of the himmarit, some not fully corroded show a 
stamped Athenian owl, grossly imitated from the Greek moneys ; 
they are Himyaric. Potsherds and broken glass, nearly in- 



a-Cv. x 



l^.T 





ti-b*, 



K~r,*> 





Himyarite trade money (in copper) found at el-Hejr (Medain Salih) : they are imitated from 
the silver-pieces of Athens ;— see the head of Pallas, the owl and olive spray and A@E 



destructible matter, are found upon all the ancient sites in 
Arabia : none here now-a-days use these brittle wares, but only 
wood and copper-tinned vessels. Arabia was then more civil 
with great trading roads of the ancient world ! Arabia of our 
days has the aspect of a decayed country. All nations trafficked 
for gold and the sacred incense, to Arabia the Happy : to-day 
the round world has no need of the daughter of Arabia ; she is 
forsaken and desolate. 

Little remains of the old civil generations of el-Hejr, the 
caravan city ; her clay-built streets are again the blown dust in the 
wilderness. Their story is written for us only in the crabbed 
scrawlings upon many a wild crag of this sinister neighbourhood, 
and in the engraved titles of their funeral monuments, now 
solitary rocks, which the fearful passenger admires, in these 
desolate mountains. The plots of potsherds may mark old in- 
habited sites, perhaps a cluster of villages : it is an ordinary 
manner of Semitic settlements in the Oasis countries that they 
are founded upon veins of ground-water. A suk perhaps and 
these suburbs was Hejra emporium, with palm groves walled 
about. 

By the way, returning to the kella, is a low crag full of 
obscure caverns, and without ornament. In this passage I had 
d. t. 8 



BEYT AKHREYMAT 115 

viewed nearly all the birds which are proper to the frontispieces 
of Medain Salih. The Arabs say, it is some kind of sea-fowl. 
The Syrian pilgrims liken them to the falcon ; they are of 
massy work as in gross grained sand-rock, in which nothing can 
be finely sculptured. The pediments bear commonly some 
globular and channeled side ornaments, which are solid, and 
they are sculptured in the rock. 

In other days, I visited the monuments at leisure, and 
arrived at the last outstanding. The most sumptuous is that, 
they call Beyt Akhreymdt. Between the mural cornices there 
is sculptured an upper rank of four bastard pilasters. There 
is no bird but only the pedestal ; instead of the channeled 
urns, there are here pediment side-ornaments of beasts, perhaps 
hounds or griffons. The bay of the monument (wherein are 
seen certain shallow loculi, like those found in the walls of the 
sepulchral chambers) is not hewn down fully to the ground ; 
so that the heels of the great side pilasters are left growing to 
the foot of the rock, for the better lasting and defence of this 
weak sculptured sandstone. The spurious imitating art is seen 
thus in strange alliance with the chaotic eternity of nature. 
About the doorway are certain mouldings, barbarously added 
to the architecture. This goodly work appeared to me not 
perfectly dressed to the architectural symmetry ; there are 
few frontispieces, which are laboured with the tool to a perfect 
smoothfacedness. The antique craft-masters (not unlikely hired 
from Petra,) were of a people of clay builders ; their work in 
these temple-tombs was imitation : (we saw the like in the 
South Arabian trade-money, p. 113). They were Semites, expe- 
ditious more than curious, and naturally imperfect workmen. — 
The interpretation of the inscriptions has confirmed these con- 
jectures. 

We were come last to the Mahal el-Mejlis or senate house, here 
the face of a single crag is hewn to a vast monument more than 
forty feet wide, of a solemn agreeable simplicity. The great side 
pilasters are in pairs, which is not seen in any other ; notwith- 
standing this magnificence, the massy frontispiece had remained 
unperfected. Who was the author of this beginning who lies 
nearly alone in his huge sepulchral vanity ? for all the chamber 
within is but a little rude cell with one or two grave-places. 
And doubtless this was his name engrossed in the vast title 

8—2 



n6 



TBAVELS IN ARABIA DESEBTA. 



plate, a single line of such magnitude as there is none other, 
with deeply engraved cursive characters [now read by the learned 
interpreters, For Hail son of Douna (and) his descendants: 
Appendix no. 22.] The titles could not be read in Moham- 




Mahdl el-Mejlis. 



med's time, or the prophet without prophecy had] not uttered his 
folly of these caverns, or could not have escaped derision, lne 



MAHAL EL-MEJLIS. 



117 



unfinished portal with eagle and side ornaments, is left as it was 
struck out in the block. The great pilasters are not chiselled 
fully down to the ground ; the wild reef yet remains before the 
monument, channeled into blocks nearly ready to be removed, — 
in which is seen the manner to quarry of those ancient stone- 
cutters. Showing me the blocks my rude companions said, 
" These were benches of the town councillors." 

The covercles of the sepulchres and the doors of the " deso- 
late mansions," have surely been wooden in this country, (where 
also is no stone for flags) and it is likely they were of acacia or 
tamarisk timber ; which doubtless have been long since consumed 
at the cheerful watch-fires of the nomads : moreover there should 
hinder them no religion of the dead in idolatry. Notwith- 
standing the imitating (Koman) magnificence of these mer- 
chants to the Sabeans, there is not a marble plate in all their 
monuments, nor any strewn marble fragment is seen upon the 
Hejr plain. It sufficed them to " write with an iron pen for 
ever " upon the soft sand-rock of these Arabian mountains. 
A mortise is seen in the jambs of all doorways, as it might be 
to receive the bolt of a wooden lock (see pi. between pp. 108 — 9). 
The frontispieces are often over-scored with the idle wasms of 
the ancient tribesmen. I mused to see how often they resemble 
the infantile Himyaric letters. 



CHAPTER V. 



MEDAIN SALIH AND EL-ALLY. 

The Diwan. The Haj post. Beduins visit the kella. Cost of victualling and 
manning a kella. Syrian Kurds and Moorish tower guards. The desert tribes 
about el-He" jr. Nomad wasms. The day in the kella. Three manners of utterance 
in the Arabic speech. Their fable talk. The "Jews of Kheybar." Beny Kelb. 
Hunting the wild goat in the mountains. Antique perpendicular inscriptions. 
Bread baked under the ashes. Night in the mountain : we hear the ghrol. The 
porcupine : the colocynih gourd. The ostrich. Pitted rocks. Vulcanic neigh- 
bourhood. Rude rock-inscriptions. Antique quarries. Hejra clay-built. The 
Cross mark. Ancient villages between el-He" jr and Medina. Colonists at el-He" jr. 
Christmas at Meddin. Sanies of Teyma. The way down to el- Ally. The Khreyby 
ruins. El- Ally. The Sheykh Dahir. Sacramental gestures. The town founded 
by Barbary Derwishes. Voice of the muetthin. Ddhir questions the stranger. 
The people and their town. Arabic wooden lock. Beduins mislike the town life. 
The English Queen is the chief Ruler in Islam. El- Ally a civil Hejdz town. Ibn 
Saild came against el- Ally. The Kddy. Sickly climate. They go armed in their 
streets. Hejdz riots, battles joined with quarter -staves. History of the place. 
Rain falling. Dates. The women. Fables of Christians and Jews, 

Having viewed all the architectural chambers in those few 
crags of the plain ; my companions led me to see the Diwdn, 
which only of all the Hejr monuments is in the mount Ethlib, 
in a passage beyond a white sand-drift in face of the kella. 
Only this Liwdn or Diwan, ' hall or council chamber,' of all the 
hewn monuments at el-Hejr, (besides some few and obscure 
caverns,) is plainly not sepulchral. The Diwan alone is lofty 
and large, well hewn within, with cornice and pilasters, and 
dressed to the square and plummet, yet a little obliquely. The 
Diwan alone is an open chamber : the front is of excellent sim- 
plicity, a pair of pilasters to the width of the hewn chamber, open 
as the nomad tent. The architrave is fallen with the forepart of 
the flat ceiling. The hall, which is in ten paces large and deep 
eleven, and high as half the depth ; looks northward. In the 
passage, which is fifty paces long, the sun never shines, a wind 
breathes there continually, even in summer : this was a cool site 
to be chosen in a sultry country. Deep sand lies drifted in the 
Diwan floor : the Aarab digging under the walls for " gun-salt," 



TABLETS OF THE DIWAN PASSAGE. 121 

(the cavern is a noon shelter of the nomad flocks,) find no bones, 
neither is there any appearance of burials. The site resembles 
the beginning of the Sik at Wady Musa, in which is the 
Khazna Pharoun ; in both I have seen, but here much more 
(pp. 120 and 122), the same strange forms of little plinths and 
tablets. The plinths are single, or two or three unevenly 
standing together, or there is a single plinth branching above 
into two heads (No. 4) ; a few have the sculptured emblems 
about them of the great funeral monuments : we cannot doubt 
that their significance is religious. There is a Nabatean legend 
lightly entailed in the rock above one of them (No. 5). [It 
is now interpreted This is the mesgeda (beth-el or kneeling 
stone) made to Aera, great god. This shows them to have been 
idol-stones.] — (Inscr. No. 1.) 

We see scored upon the walls, within, a few names of old 
Mohammedan passengers, some line or two of Nabatean in- 
scriptions, and the beginning of a word or name of happy 
augury ETTT-; these Greek letters only I have found at Medain 
Salih. Also there are chalked up certain uncouth outlines in 
shepherd's ruddle, ghrerra, (such as they use to mark flocks 
in Syria,) which are ascribed to the B. Helal. Upon the two 
cliffs of the passage are many Nabatean inscriptions. Higher 
this strait rises among the shelves of the mountain, which 
is full of like clefts, — it is the nature of this sandstone. From 
thence is a little hewn conduit led down in the rocky side (so 
in the Sik), as it were for rain-water, ending in a small cistern- 
chamber above the Diwan ; it might be a provision for the 
public hall or temple. Hereabout are four or five obscure hewn 
caverns in the soft rock. Two of the Fehjat accompanied me 
armed, with Mohammed and Abd el-Kader from the kella ; 
whilst we were busy, the kella lads were missing, they, having 
seen strange riders in the plain, had run to put themselves in 
safety. Only the Fehjies remained with me ; when I said to 
them, Will you also run away ? the elder poor man answered 
with great heart, " I am an Antary and this is an Antary (of 
the children of Antar), we will not forsake thee ! " (The hero 
Antar was of these countries, he lived little before Mohammed.) 
No Beduins were likely to molest the poor and despised Fehjies. 

Fourteen days after the Haj passing, came el-nejjab, the haj 
dromedary post, from Medina ; he carried but a small budget 
with him of all the hajjies' letters, for Damascus. Postmaster 
of the wilderness was a W. Aly sheykh, afterward of my ac- 
quaintance : he hired this Sherarat tribesman to be his post- 
rider to Syria. The man counted eleven or twelve night 






'fill 
mm i 



^f&iZ-i' I- 








M-JY? 



»-^m 








THE KELLA HOSPITALITY. 123 

stations in his journey thither, which are but waterings and 
desolate sites in the desert : el- Jinny, Jeraida, Ghrurrub, 
Ageyly, W. el-Howga, Moghreyra, Howsa, Bayir. A signal 
gun is fired at Damascus when the haj post is come in. The 
day following the light mail bag is sealed again for the Hara- 
meyn. For a piece of money the poor man also carried my 
letters with him to Syria. 

Many were the days to pass within the kella : almost every 
third day came Beduins, and those of the garrison entertained 
them with arms in their hands ; in other days there were 
alarms of ghrazzus seen or of strange footsteps found in the 
plain, and the iron door was shut. Not many Beduw are 
admitted at once into the tower, and then the iron door is barred 
upon their companions without. Besides Fejir there came to us 
Moahib, nomads of the neighbouring Harra, and even Beduins 
of Billi ; all sought coffee, a night's lodging and their supper 
in the kella. The Billi country is the rugged breadth of the 
Tehama, beyond the Harra. They pronounced gim as the 
Egyptians. Three men of Billi arriving late in an evening 
drank ardently a first draught from the coffee-room buckets 
of night-chilled water, and "Ullah be praised! sighed they, as 
they were satisfied, wellah we be come over the Harra and 
have not drunken these two days ! " They arrived now driving a 
few sheep in discharge of a lihiiwa, or debt for " brotherhood," to 
the Fukara, for safe conduct of late, which was but to come in to 
traffic in the Haj market. Said Mohammed Aly, " Mark well the 
hostile and necessitous life of the Beduw ! is it to such wild 
wretches thou wilt another day trust thy life ? See in what 
manner they hope to live, — by devouring one another ! It is 
not hard for them to march without drinking, and they eat, 
by the way, only, if they may find aught. The Beduins are 
sheyatin (of demon-kind ; ) what will thy life be amongst them, 
which, wellah, we ourselves of the city could not endure ! " 

How might this largess of the kella hospitality be continu- 
ally maintained ? " It is all at our own and not at the govern- 
ment cost," quoth the aga. The Aarab suppose there is certain 
money given out of the Haj chest to the purpose ; but it seems 
to be only of wages spared between the aga and the tower- 
warden, who are of a counsel together to hire but half the 
paid strength of the garrison. To the victualling of a haj- 
road kella there was formerly counted 18 camel loads (three 
tons nearly) of Syrian wheat, with 30 cwt. of caravan biscuit 
(ozmdt), and 30 of bdrghrol, which is bruised, parboiled 
wheaten grain, and sun-dried (the household diet of Syria) 
with 40 lbs. of samn. But the old allowances had been now 



124 TBAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

reduced, by the reformed administration, to the year's rations 
(in wheat only) of ten men (nefer), and to each a salary 
of 1000 piastres, or £8 sterling ; but the warden received for 
two nefers : thus the cost of a kella to the Syrian govern- 
ment may be £220 English money by the year. There is no 
tower-warden on the road who has not learned Turkish arts; 
and with less pay they have found means to thrive with 
thankful mind. The warden, who is paymaster for ten, hires 
but five hands, nor these all at the full money. The Pasha 
will never call for the muster of his ten merry men ; they 
each help other to win and swallow the public good be- 
tween them : all is well enough if only the kella be not lost, 
and that the caravan find water there. — How may a kella, 
nearly unfurnished of defence, be maintained in the land of 
Ishmael ? How but by making the Beduw their allies, in the 
sacrament of the bread and salt : and if thus one man's wages 
be spent in twelve months, for coffee and corn and samn, 
the warden shall yet fare well enough ; — the two mules' rations 
of barley were also embezzled. But I have heard the old man 
Nejm complain, that all the fat was licked from his beard by 
Mohammed Aly. 

Betwixt Wady Zerka in the north and Hedieh midway from 
Medain upon the derb to Medina, are eleven or twelve in- 
habited kellas, manned (in the register) by one hundred and 
twenty nefers, said Mohammed Aly ; this were ten for a kella, 
but afterward he allowed that only seventy kept them. Thus 
they are six-men garrisons, but some are less ; that which is 
paid out for the other fifty in the roll, (it may be some £1300,) 
is swallowed by the confederate officiality. In former times 
five hundred nefers were keepers of these twelve towers, or 
forty to a kella ; afterward the garrisons were twenty-five men 
to a kella, all Damascenes of the Medan. But the Syrians 
bred in happier country were of too soft a spirit, they shut 
their iron doors, as soon as the Haj was gone by, ten months, till 
they saw the new returning pilgrimage : with easy wages and 
well provided, they were content to suffer from year to year this 
ship-bound life in the desert. The towers below Maan were 
manned by Kurds, sturdy northern men of an outlandish speech 
and heavy-handed humour : but a strange nation could have 
no long footing in Arabia. After the Emir Abd el-Kader's 
seating himself at Damascus and the gathering to him there of 
the Moorish emigration, Moghrareba began to be enrolled for 
the haj road. And thenceforth being twenty or twenty-five 
men in a tower, the iron doors stood all daylights open. The 
valorous Moorish Arabs are well accepted by the Arabians, who 



SUCCESSIONS OF TRIBES, DWELLERS AT EL-HE JR. 125 

repute them an " old Hejaz folk, and nephews of the Beny 
Helal." The adventurous Moors in garrison even made raids on 
unfriendly Beduw, and returned to their kellas with booty of 
small cattle and camels. 

These are the principal tribes of Beduin neighbours : Billi 
(singular Beluwy) over the Harra ; next to them at the north 
Howeytat (sing. Howeyty) : south of them Jeheyna, an ancient 
tribe (in the gentile vulg. plur. Jehiri), nomads and villagers, 
their country is from Yanba to the derb el-haj. Some fendies 
(divisions) of them are el-Kleybdt (upon the road between 
Sawra and Sujwa), Aroa, G'dah, Merowin, Zubbidn, Grun and 
about Yanba, Beny Ibrahim, Sieyda, Serdserra. Above Medina 
on the derb el-haj were the Saadin (sing. Saaddnny) of Harb ; 
westward is Bishr and some fendies of Heteym towards Kheybar. 
The successions of nomad tribes which have possessed el-Hejr 
since the Beny Helal, or fabled ancient heroic Aarab of Nejd, 
were they say the Sherarat, (also reckoned to the B. Helal) — 



[Ibn Rashid] 


IX 


or 


+ 


el-Fej\r 


11)) 






Welad Aly 


•k 


2 


JIIX T III-) 


Ruwalla 


rr 




Towwala- 


Moahib 


■= 






Bishr 


r> 






BHli 


I) 






Jeheyna 


A 






Howeytat 


ID 


111 


r\ 


Beny Sdkhr 


? 






Beny AtUh 


k 






Shcrirdt 


?l 


r 


% ?u JY 




I 




M'falaha Lahawwy 


Fehjdt {Heteym 







m 



Wasms of some Beduin tribes 



126 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

these then occupied the Harra, where the dubbus, or club- 
stick, their cattle mark, remains scored upon the vulcanic rocks 
— after them are named the Beny Said, then the Duffir, sheykh 
Ibn Sweyd (now in the borders of Mesopotamia), whom the 
Beny Sokhr expelled ; the Fukara and Moahib (now a very small 
tribe) drove out the B. Sohkr from the Jau. The Moahib 
reckon their generations in this country, thirteen : a sheykh of 
theirs told me upon his fingers his twelve home-born ancestors ; 
this is nearly four centuries. Where any nomad tribe has dwelt, 
they leave the wild rocks full of their idle wasms ; these are the 
Beduins' only records and they remain for centuries of years. 

In such sort we passed a day in the kella ; as the morrow 
lightened every one in his narrow chamber chanted the first 
prayers with a well-sounding solemnity. A mule was yoked to the 
creaking duldb or well-machine and a nefer drives with loud 
carter's shouting from the gallery above. The embers of the 
yester-evening fire are blown to a flame in the coffee-chamber 
hearth, where the warden with his great galliun (tobacco-pipe), 
and the aga with his redoutable visage and his snuff-box, take 
their old seats. Coffee is now roasted, brayed, and boiled for the 
morrow's bitter cup, as the custom is to-day of all Arabs ; — and 
yet this tower might be of older building than the first coffee- 
drinking in Asia ! About ten, each one withdrawing to him- 
self, they breakfasted. The raising of the water is all the care 
of the kella : a mule wrought four hours and was unyoked ; the 
second wrought four afternoon hours. At mid-afternoon our 
household provision of water is taken and stored in well-buckets 
in the several dwelling cell-chambers. The gate Arabs' house- 
wives come in then to fill their water-skins, and after prayers 
those of the kella sit anew to make coffee. At sunset they 
supped, every man in his own chamber, after they had solemnly 
recited the evening prayer : when they rise from their simple 
grain or rice messes, they go to drink the evening coffee 
together. Every man took his own place again, upon the stone 
floor, about the coffee hearth ; and the long Arab evening is 
spent over their coffee pots and tobacco. 

Mohammed Aly could not sit long silent, and when he had 
opened his mouth, we heard his tales for hours, all of good 
matter and eloquent, and (as unlettered men tell,) of the 
marrow of human experience ; then it was, since all is not 
wisdom in many words, that we could discover his mind. The 
other bold Moghrebies answered him with a sober mirth, ad- 
miring their argute and world-wise aga, sooner than loving 
him : the gate Arabs sat on silent and smiling. I have won- 



THE THREE KINDS OF SPEECH. 127 

dered how often the talk of these Moorish men in the East, 
touched Europe ! The Engleys were friends, said they, of the 
Moslemin. France rides but roughly in their necks in Barbary : 
they thought it pearls to hear how that mighty state, which 
had hardly mastered Moghreby Algeria in fourteen years, had 
been vanquished in as many days by a nation of this new name, 
Borusia : Mohammed Aly swore loud by Ullah that the ransom 
of Fransa heaped together, might fill the four walls of this 
kella ! The ingenious Franks are even here their merchants 
(more than they were aware) ; Manchester clothes them in 
part ; even the oriental coffee cups, the coffee pan and their 
red caps were made for these markets in Europe. Haj Nejm, 
sometimes turning to me with his old man's ingenuous smiles, 
could say over a few words of the neighbour Frankish coast, 
and current in Barbary, sordi, muchacho, nino, agua ; "such 
(he added) are the words of them." He had seen our sea- 
faring nations in the ports of his country ; Flamingies (Flemish 
or Dutch) Americanies and the Talian. — " The Talianis were 
slaves (this he thought, because of their Neapolitan and sea- 
men's brown visages !) of the Engleys." 

The aga unlettered but erudite in the mother tongue distin- 
guished to us three kinds of the Arabic utterance : el-aly, the 
lofty style as when a man should discourse with great personages ; 
el-wast, the mean speech, namely for the daily business of 
human lives ; and that all broken, limping and thread-bare, ed- 
dun, the lowly, — " and wellah as this speaking of Khalil." Never- 
theless that easy speech, which is born in the mouth of the 
Beduins, is far above all the school-taught language of the town. 
The rest of our company were silent Arabs, and when the aga's 
talk was run out, he looked stourly about him, who should speak 
next. Haj Hasan's wit was most in his strong hands, he had 
little to say ; in the old man Nejm was an ingenuous modesty, 
he could not speak without first spreading his lean palms to the 
fire, and casting down the eyes when any looked upon him. 
These men sat solemnly, with their great galliuns and " drank " 
tobacco. " Ullah ! I am a friend, would cry Mohammed Aly, of 
heart-easing mirth in every company." When he spoke all 
feared his direful voice. " What ! has none of you any word ? 
Then Khalil shall tell us a tale. Say anything, Khalil, only tell 
us of your country, and whatso thou sayest it will be new and 
very pleasant to us all. Arabs ! listen ; now Khalil begins. 
This is a tale you are to imagine of the land of Khalil and 
of the Engleys that are a great people, ay wellah, and only 
little after the Dowlat of the Sultan." But I answered " There 
is little voice in my chest, there is no tale ready upon my 



i 2 8 TBAVELS IN ABAB1A DESERT A. 

tongue, which is not current this year, you have said it your- 
selves : " and I thought this silence salutary, among so hot 
heads of Moghrebies, until the Haj should be again at the door. 
Then would he cry " What do you Aarab to sit like the dumb ? 
let us hear now some merry tale among you ; tell on only for 
good fellowship." Mohammed Aly's soldiering life had been 
much in the nomad borders of Syria ; well knew he their speech 
and affected it here amongst them, and yet he told me that 
when the Beduins were in the mid-sea-deep of their braying 
rimes, he could not many times follow them. There are turns 
and terms of the herdsmen poets of the desert which are 
dark or unknown in any form to the townling Syrians. The 
truant smiling Beduins have answered again, that they could 
no tales, unless it were of their small cattle and camels, or 
to tell of ghrazzus. Their bare life is in the wastes : the wonderful 
citizen world is almost out of their hearing. A coffee chamber 
pastime was yet to tell upon their fingers the caravan journeys 
and find at what station the hajjaj should arrive this day. From 
hence to Medina the distance is perhaps one hundred and thirty 
miles ; they count it three journeys for thelul riders. 

Mohammed Aly's tales were often fables, when he touched 
common things out of his knowledge. He had been upon 
an English ship-board, in the time of the fanatical troubles in 
Syria, (the fleets of Europe lying then at Beyrut ;) and now he 
told us, ' her guns were three hundred, and the length of every 
gun nine yards, and so great that hardly three men's arms could 
fathom them, one of her decks was a market, where he saw all 
kinds of victuals sold ; her sea-soldiers were 25,000.' These 
things he affirmed with oaths, — such are the Arabs' tales. I 
had sat in amazement to hear of a strange country in Arabia, 
southward of Mecca, a civil land of towns and villages only 
in the last age converted to Islam, the province they named 
Beled Jawwa. When of this I questioned Mohammed Aly, a 
dim spirit but rolled in the busy world and free from the first 
rust of superstition, he answered, " Ay ! Khalil ! and I have seen 
them in the pilgrimage at Mecca, they inhabit a country in 
el- Yemen, the men have no beards on their faces." Later I 
understood that this was spoken of the Javanese, whom they 
supposed to be a people of the Arabian Peninsula. Again 
the Harb are dreaded (their name is War) by the Syrian 
pilgrims ; because the robber wretches and cutters of the cara- 
vans betwixt the Harameyn, are counted to this nomad nation. 
" The Harb are terrible, it may be known by their customs, said 
Mohammed Aly, more than any other. The male is not cir- 
cumcised in childhood, but when he is of age to take a wife ; 



THE "JEWS" OF KHEYBAK 129 

then his friends send for surgery and the young man is pilled 
from the pubis : the maiden also looking on, and if her lad 
shrink or cast a sigh, wellah she will disdain him for an 
husband." I have asked them, when I afterwards came to the 
Harb, " Is it so among you ? " " Lord ! they answered, that so 
strange things should be reported of us poor people ! but 
Khalil, these things are told of el-Kaht&n" — that is of a 
further nation and always far off. 

A common argument of the Syrian Haj fables are the Ydhud 
(Jews of) Kheybar ; an ancient name indeed and fearful in the 
ears of the more credulo^ pilgrims. Kheybar, now a poor vil- 
lage, (which later, with infinite pains, I have visited,) is a place 
renowned in the Moslem chronicles, as having been first con- 
quered in the beginning of the religious faction of Mohammed. 
Kheybar is fabulously imagined to be yet a strong city, (which 
was manifestly never more than a village and her suburbs), in 
the further side of the desert ; and whose inhabitants are a 
terrible kindred, Moslems indeed outwardly, but in secret cruel 
Jews, that will suffer no stranger to enter among them. In 
the midst of the town, as they tell, is a wonderful fortress, so 
high, that even the summer sun cannot cast her beams to the 
ground. And that cursed people's trade is fabled to be all in 
land-loping and to be cutters of the Haj. Also in their running 
they may pass any horse : so swift they are, because the whirl- 
bone of the knee is excised in their childhood ; by nature they 
have no calf under their shanks. There are told also many 
enterprises of theirs, as this : — ' Three Yahud Kheybar being 
taken in the manner, the Haj Pasha commanded to bury them in 
the sand to the ears ; it was done, and the Haj passed from them. 
There came a leopard in the night-time, which smelled to the 
two former, and finding them dead, she left them, but the 
third still breathing, she busily wrought with her paws, to 
have digged him up ; the man then returning to himself and 
seeing the grisly brute stand over, heaved himself for dread, and 
the beast fled affrighted. This Yahudy sprang out and ran 
fast after the Haj, now a journey gone before him ; yet 
reaching their camp the next night, he climbed by the stays 
and from above entered the Pasha's pavilion. The great officer 
lay sleeping with his head upon the treasury chest ; for all this, 
the thief stole the government silver, as much as he might carry. 
In the next night station the thief, returning to attempt the like, 
was taken by the watch, and bound till the morning. Then being 
led out to die, the Pasha commanded his soldiery to stand in 
compass about him. The Yahudy answered, " Sir, am I not he 
whom ye buried ? and who robbed the chest but I this other night ? 

d. t. 9 



i 3 o TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A, 

I fear thee not yet." — " And how, cursed man, dost thou not fear 
me who have power to kill thee ? " — " There is no man can make 
me afraid ; " — and with a cast of his legs, the thief sprang quite 
over the circle of men's shoulders and ran from them faster 
than any trooper's pursuing.' 

Wonders are told also in Arabia of the Beny Kelb, a tribe of 
human hounds. Kelb, " a dog," now an injury was formerly an 
honourable name in the Semitic tribes. They say " The Kelb 
housewives and daughters are like fair women, but the male kind, 
a span in stature and without speech, are white hounds. When 
they have sight of any guest approaching, the hospitable men- 
dogs spring forth to meet him, and holding the lap of his mantle 
between their teeth, they towse him gently to their nomad 
booths." Some will have it " they dwell not in land of Arabia, 
but inhabit a country beyond the flood ; they devour their old 
folk so soon as their beards be hoary." As this was told some 
day in our coffee talk at Medain Salih, Doolan shouted, of a 
sudden, that in another of his distant expeditions he had met 
with the Beny Kelb — " Ay billah ! and they came riding upon 
theluls." Then reminded that the B. Kelb dwelt over seas, 
and that the men were in likeness of hounds, he exclaimed , 
" Well, and this may be true, God wot ; wellah ! I thought I 
saw them, but, life of this coffee ! I might be mistaken." Doolan 
told me another day that the people of Kheybar were six 
hundred thousand men ; — and all was of the poor man's mag- 
nanimity that he would make them many in his fable talk. 
A very sober and worthy Fejiry who ever told me the truth 
within his knowledge, said " the country of the B. Kelb lies 
five or six days eastward from Mecca, but they are not right 
Moslems, their matchlock men are ten thousand." That were 
a tribe of fifty thousand souls ! — there is not any so great 
nomad nation in all Arabia. The Annezy, which inhabit almost 
from Medina to the north of Syria, a land-breadth of more than 
fifteen thousand square miles, I cannot esteem to be fully half 
that number ; but their minds have little apprehension of the 
higher numbers : I have commonly found their thousands to 
signify hundreds, so that the tenth of their tale very nearly 
agreed with my own reckoning. 

Haj Hasan, whose two hands wrought more than the rest of i 
the garrison, would upon a day go a hunting to the jebel with i 
some of the gate Arabs, and I should accompany them. In i 
the way beyond the eastward cliffs of the plain, I heard there j 
were inscriptions. As we crossed two and a half hours to the 
Rikb el-He jr, before noonday, some of the Arabs of this land of 
famine complained already in the sun ana ajizt, their weak limbs. I 



HUNTING THE WILD GOAT. 131 

were dull in the sand. Wady was amongst them, he went in rags, 
the custom in Ishmaelite Arabia of any who must adventure a 
little abroad, for dread of being stripped by any hostile ghrazzu. 
We passed the barrier cliff by a cleft banked with deep sand. 
The mountain backward is an horrid sandstone desolation, a 
death as it were and eternal stillness of nature. The moun- 
tain sandstone cloven down in cross lines, is here a maze of 
rhomboid masses, with deep and blind streets, as it were, of 
some lofty city lying between them. Of the square crags some 
that were softer stone are melted quite away from among them, 
leaving the open spaces. The heights of wasting rock are 
corroded into many strange forms of heads and pinnacles, [v. The 
rocks of J. Ethlib, p. 243.] The counterlines of sandstone sedi- 
ment are seen at even height in all the precipices. We marched 
in the winter heat ; a thermometer laid, upon a white cloth, upon 
the sand at an height of 3700 feet, showed 86° F. : at the highest 
of the mountain labyrinth, sixteen miles from the kella, I found 
nearly 4000 feet. From thence we saw over a wide waste land- 
scape northwards to a watering of the Fejir nomads. We were 
distressed, stepping in the deep banked sand, descending and 
ascending still amongst the perplexed cliff passages. As we went 
I found a first Himyarish legend of the desert, written upon the 
cliff, perpendicularly, with images of the ostrich, the horse and his 
rider, and of camels. [Doc. Eyigr. pi. xx.] We came to a cave 
in a deep place of sand where there grew acacia trees. The sun 
now was setting and this should be our night's lodging. 

We had brought dough tied in a cloth, to spare our water ; 
it had been kneaded at el-Hejr. Of this dough, one made large 
flat cakes (abud) which, raked under the red-hot sand and 
embers of our earth, are after a few minutes to be turned. 
Our bread taken up half baked was crumbled with dates in the' 
hollow of a skin pressed in the sand troughwise, with a little 
water, that we might feel the less need to drink and make 
not too soon an end of our little girby, being five persons. 
The nomads in this country after dates rub their palms in 
sand ; some ruder choughs wipe the cloyed fingers in their 
long elf locks. The bright night shone about us very cold, 
and half numbed we could not sleep ; before morning I found 
but 38° F. Once we heard a strange noise in the hollow of 
our cavern upward. Doolan, who came with us, afterward 
boasted " We had all heard, wellah, the bogle, ghrul, ay, and 
even the incredulous son-of-his-uncle Khalil : " but I thought 
it only a rumble in the empty body of Wady's starveling grey- 
hound, for which we had no water and almost not a crumb 
to cast, and that lay fainting above us. We rose from our 

9—2 



132 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A, 



rocky beds after midnight with aching bones, to make up the 
watch-fire. We broke our fast ere day of that which remained, 
and each had a draught of water. Then taking up their 
long guns they went to stalk the bedun, or great wild-goats of 
the mountain. I stayed by the water-skin in the way by which 
we should return, whilst they climbed among the waste rocks. 
Until noon, only Wady had fired at a running buck and 
missed him, as the Beduins will nine times in ten. As we 
went now homewards, a troop startled before us of ten bedun 
and sprang upon the rocky shelves : our gunners went creeping 
after for an hour, but the quarry was gone from them. 

One day our hunters brought in a porcupine, wis, they find 
his earth like a rabbit-burrow and with a stick knock him 
on the head. An equal portion of this (the Arabs' religious 
goodness) was divided to all in the kella. The porcupine is 
not flayed, the gelatinous skin may be eaten with the flesh, 
which has a fishy odour. They boiled the meat, and every one 
after supper complained of heart-burning, I only felt nothing. 
It is also the Arabs' fable, that the creature can shoot out 
his pricks against an enemy. The goat, the ass, the porcu- 
pine, will eat greedily of the colocynth gourd, which to human 
nature is of so mortal bitterness that little indeed and even 
the leaf is a most vehement purgative ; they say it will leave 
a man half dead, and he may only recover his strength, by 
eating flesh meat. Surely this is the " death in the pot " of 
Elisha's derwishes. Some Beduwy brought us in a great ostrich 
egg, which dressed with samn and flour in a pan, savoured as 
a well-tasting omlette. The ostrich descends into the plain 
of Medain Salih ; I have seen her footing in Ethlib. Doolan, 
as many of his Heteym nation, was an ostrich hunter ; in the 
season he mounted upon his thelul and riding at adventure in 
the wilderness, if God would he found an ostrich path, there he hid 
himself, awaiting, all day, with lighted match, till the bird should 
pass : but this patience is many times disappointed save when 
the nest is found. Once he had brought home two ostrich chicks, 
which grew up in the kella, but one day the young birds 
fed of beans, and these swelling in their crops had choked them. 
So poor was the man, he found not every day to eat, yet were 
his hunter's tools of the best ; his matchlock was worth more 
than other in that desert side, namely forty reals. Doolan had 
most years his two skins ready against the Haj, in which is 
wont to come down a certain Damascus feather merchant, who 
buys all ostrich skins from the nomads by the pilgrim road, paying 
for every one forty to forty-five reals. The ostrich feeds, pastur- 
ing from bush to bush, " like the camel." The hunters eat the 



OSTRICH HUNTING. 



133 



bird's breast, which is dry meat ; the fat is precious, one of 
their small coffee-cups full is valued at half a mejidy ; they 
think it a sovereign remedy for heat and cold, and in many 
diseases. Inhabitants of the air, here in this winter season, 
were crows, swallows (black and grey), and blue rock pigeons. 
All nights in the kella we were invaded by a multitude of 
small yellow beetles, which fretted our butter-skins and preyed 
upon all victuals : I have not elsewhere seen them in Arabia. 

As the Arabs were accustomed to the Nasrany I began to 
wander alone, in all the site of Medain Salih. Only the aga 
bade me mount first with my glass upon the Borj rocks, and if 
I saw no life stirring in all the plain, I might adventure. In 
this exploring day by day, I saw more perfectly the several 
frontispieces and their chambers. The height of the Borj rocks is 
pitted, as with shallow surface graves ; the people of this rainless 
country take them for cisterns. They lie many there together, 
some north and south, some east and west, but are not often a 
span deep ; only backward from the tower are seen plainly, two 




^/2_ 



*34 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 



grave-pits. Also certain bare shelves of rock are seen pitted 
in the plain, with the like shallow grave-places ; as under the 
Kasr el-Bint rocks, before the threshold of one of the fairest 
frontispieces (fig. p. 133). The Borj is a rude square-built low 
tower laid of untrimmed stones without mortar, six paces by 
five, of uncertain age : a yard is the thickness of the wall 
diminishing upward ; outstanding flags have served within for 
stairs. 

In the plain, I saw everywhere drifted pebbles of lavap 
and pumice, certainly from yonder black Harra, which I have 
afterward found to be sandstone mountain overflowed with 
a wonderful thickness of basaltic lava-streams ; and the black 
hills seen thereupon, from hence, are craters of volcanoes. Yet 
there is no sign of any showers of vulcanic powder or cinders, 
fallen of old time in the plain ; — such surely was not the cata- 
strophe of el-Hejr. I found upon the wild rocks, and tran- 
scribed many old scored inscriptions. Upon the precipices I 
often wondered to see, twenty-five feet high or more from the 
ground, antique traced images of animals, which could be 
reached now only by means of a long ladder : the tallest man 
standing upon his camel could not attain them ! — " Plainly 
(say the Arabs) the men of former ages were of great stature ! " 
The aga answered them " Yet there might be shrinking of the 
soil, between weather and wind, in long course of time ; " but 
neither can this be the cause, if we consider the doorsills of the 
funeral monuments, for they appear at present at the ground 
level. I found also millstones, of antique form, in black lava ; the 





like I had seen before lying in the Petra valley. Half buried in 
the sand, I saw also some stone vessels (jurn or nejjar) like font- 
stones, and nearly a yard wide ; there is one now set up for a 
drinking trough in the kella. In the plain under Ethlib, I found 




A CROSS MARK. 135 

an ancient quarry, upon whose wall is cut, as with a workman's 
chisel, this Himyaric legend, which is nearly singular among 

the Nabatean inscriptions at Medain Salih ; I found a second 
ancient quarry, , backward from the western rocks. — Two very 
small quarries could not suffice for the stonework of a town ; 
and though they had some stone-waste from the hewing of the 
funeral monuments : but their town was clay-built and the clay 
house-walls were laid upon a ground-course or two of stones, 
rude and nearly unwrought. I have seen very few plots 
of antique houses remaining, in all the ancient site. I suppose 
not many are covered by the driven sand, but rather that 
all such provision of stones, lying ready to hand, has been 
taken up long since, for the building of the kella. Small were 
those ancient houses, we should not think them cottages ; 
no larger are the antique houses of rude stone building, 
which I have since seen yet standing, from Mohammed's time, 
about Kheybar. 

Under the Borj rocks I have often stayed to consider the stain 



of a cross in a border, made with ghrerra, or red ochre. What 
should this be ! a cattle brand ? — or the sign of Christ's death 
and trophy of his never ending kingdom ? which some ancient 
Nasrean passenger left to witness for the Author of his Salva- 
tion, upon the idolatrous rocks of el-Hejr ! The cross mark is 
also a common letter in the Himyaric inscriptions, which the 
ignorant Arabs take for a sure testimony, that all their country 
was of old time held by the Nasara. — I have found no footstep 
of the Messianic religion in this country unless it were in 
a name in Greek letters, which I afterward saw scored upon 
the rocks of Mubrak en-Naga, (kypi*koc). 



1 36 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

El-Hejr was still a small village in the tenth century ; many 
villages were in the hollow ground from hence towards Medina, 
and full of people even in the times of our Crusades : to-day 
they are silent sites of ruins, there is no memory even of their 
names among the people of the country. By the Borj rocks are 
some broken palm-yard walls, with ruins of clay houses ; these 
are not so old as a century. Zeyd's grandfather, the great 
sheykh of his tribe, had brought husbandmen from Teyma to 
irrigate this fruitful loam and dwell here under his protection. 
Large were their harvests, and they had ready sale to the 
Beduins. The Teyma colonists were bye and bye thriving, al- 
though they paid a part of the fruit to their nomad landlords. 
The men having in few years gotten silver enough to buy 
themselves wells and palm grounds at home, returned to 
Teyma. I asked why they abandoned the place, where their 
labours prospered. Zeyd answered, " Because it is khdla," the 
empty solitary waste where they were never in assurance of 
their own lives. Westwards a mile from the kella, I found 
great clay walls upon foundations of rude stone-laying without 
mortar ; those abandoned buildings were of old outlying granges, 
as we see them in some provinces of Nejd. The bare clay 
walling will stand under this barren climate for many ages. 
The fatness of the Hejr loam is well known in the country ; 
many have sown here, and awhile, the Arabs told me, they 
fared well, but always in the reaping-time there has died some 
one of them. A hidden mischief they think to be in all this 
soil once subverted by divine judgments, that it may never 
be tilled again or inhabited. Malignity of the soil is otherwise 
ascribed by the people of Arabia, to the ground-demons, jan, 
ahl el-ard or earth-folk. Therefore husbandmen in these parts 
use to sprinkle new break-land with the blood of a peace 
offering : the like, when they build, they sprinkle upon the 
stones, lest by any evil accidents the workmen's lives should 
be endangered. Not twenty years before one of the Fehjies (of 
whom a few households are planters of small palm-grounds, 
without the walls of Teyma) enclosed some soil at el-Hejr 
within gunshot of the kella. He digged a well-pit and planted 
palms and sowed corn. The harvest was much and his pump- 
kins and water melons passed any that can be raised in the sand 
bottom at el- Ally ; but his fatal day overtook him in the midst 
of this fair beginning, and the young man dead, his honest 
enterprise was abandoned. 

At Christmas time there fell a pious Mohammedan festival, 
eth-thahia, when a sheep is slaughtered in every well-faring 
household, of which they send out portions to their poorer 



ARABIAN SMITHS. 137 

neighbours. The morning come, they all shot off their guns 
in the kella and sat down to breakfast together. The nomads 
devoutly keep this feast : there is many a poor man that for 
his father, lately deceased, will then slaughter a camel. 

Certain sanies (Arabians of the smith's caste) arrived before 
noon from Teyma, who although it was a festival day sat down 
bye and bye to their metal trade ; their furnace-hearth is hollowed 
in the sand. One forges, another handles the pair of bellows- 
skins ; they were to tin all the copper vessels for the new year 
and mend the old matchlocks and swords of Haj Nejm, in the 
armoury of the kella : the infirm but valorous old Moor had 
taken the most of them in the pursuit of hostile ghrazzus. 
The smiths, notwithstanding their soon smutched faces, were 
well-faring men at Teyma, where they dwelt in good houses and 
I afterward knew them. The witty-handed smiths and always 
winning, are mostly prudent heads ; and suffering themselves in 
the peevish public opinion, they are tolerant more than other men. 
They came about this country once a year, and sojourned three 
months tinkering at el- Ally ; they would thither this afternoon 
with some of the garrison who must go to the village to barter 
their government wheat for rice and fetch up the mules' forage. 
I thought also to visit the oasis in their company. 

At el-assr (mid afternoon) we set forth ; Hasan and the lad 
Mohammed were those of the kella. These were perilous times ; 
the jehad was now waged against a part of Christendom. At 
Damascus we had long time dreaded a final rising and general 
massacre of the Nasara ; the returning post messenger might soon 
bring down heavy tidings. It was well I parted excellent friends 
from the aga, who followed me with these words : " Khalil is 
as one, wellah, who has been bred up among us\" I reminded 
Haj Nejm, as we joined hands, that we were neighbours in the 
West. " Ay, wellah, he answered, neighbours." Besides the 
sanies there went with us a bevy of Fehjat women to the town, 
to sell what trifles they had found upon the ground of the Haj 
encampment ; but as Hasan would (for all the Arabs are thus evil 
tongued), sooner to make a dishonest commerce of themselves. 
One of these, Kathdfa, Doolan's daughter, strode foremost of the 
female company, bearing her father's matchlock upon her stalwart 
shoulder ; for all the way to el- Ally is full of crags, and the 
straits, a little before the town, are often beset by habalis^ 
thievish rovers from the Tehama, mostly of the here dreaded 
Howeytat. Haj Nejm told us how he had been shot at in 
the boghraz, a bullet thrilled his red cap, a second whissed by 
his cheek and spattered upon the rock nigh behind him. The 
last year Mohammed Aly was set upon there, as he went down 



138 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

with some of the garrison to el-Ally. Hostile Beduins rose 
suddenly upon them from the tamarisk thicket, braving with 
their spears, leaping and lulli-looing. If we were attacked, said 
the strong Hasan, he would take to the mountain side ; — the 
Arabs think themselves half out of danger, when they have 
the advantage of ground, and can shoot down upon their 
adversaries. 

Hasan and Mohammed riding at the mule's best pace, I 
bade them slack a little ; the aga had given order that we should 
mount by shifts, and little prosperous in health, I could not 
hold the way thus on foot with them. ' We durst not pass the 
straits, said Hasan, after the sun ; it was late already and if I 
could not go he must abandon me, like as by the living God he 
would forsake his own father which begat him ; if I mishapped 
he would say that robbers met with us and I was fallen in the 
strife. Am I, he cried, a man to obey the aga!' Laying hold 
of the mule furnitures I helped myself forward along with 
them, until past the middle way, when Hasan seeing I could 
go no further, bade the askar (soldier) lad dismount, whom he 
named to me in disdain " that Beduwy," and they helped me to 
the saddle. I enquired of the sanies " Where will ye lodge at 
el- Ally, in the sheykh's house ? " They answered " Where we 
are going there is no hospitality ; the people of el-Ally are 
hounds." — They keep not here, in lowland Hejaz, the frank and 
hospitable customs of Nejd or uplandish Arabia. 

The latter way lies by the south-east corner of the Harra, 
and through a maze of sandstone crags el-Akhma which are 
undercliffs of the same mountain. Here was the former haj road, 
which passed by el- Ally ; and once not many years ago a haj pasha 
led his caravan, this way, to Bir el-Ghrannem : — it was forsaken, 
as too dangerously encumbered with rocks and strait passages. 
The bottom is mostly deep sand ; in low places under the rocks 
there grow tamarisks, which taste saltish, and harsh bent grass. 
Four or five miles above el- Ally we came (always descending 
from el-Hejr) to little ancient wells of three fathoms, el-Aiheyb, 
with corrupt water. Thirsting in the winter sun we halted, and 
Mohammed, as it is commonly seen in the East, climbed down 
to draw for us. Not far from thence begins that Boghrdz el- 
Ally, between the lofty sandstone cliffs Moallak el-Hameydy, 
of the Harra, and high ruddy precipices of that wild barrier of 
low mountains which closes the plain of Medain Salih to the 
southward, el-Hutheba, J. Rumm, Modtidal. Under this left 
side in the boghraz is seen a wide bank of stone heaps mingled 
with loam ; plainly the antique ground of a town of stone 
houses, that are fallen down in the clay which united them. 



EL-KHREYBY RUINS. 



139 



This is that site they call el-Khreyby " The little Euin," in the 
midst I saw the famous stone cistern, nejjar or jurn, shaped as 
those smaller which we have seen in the Hejr plain (tig. 
p. 134), which is called " the milking-pail of Neby Salih's naga." 




The sun setting, my companions hastened to pass. I saw as it 
were doorways hewn in those cliffs, they seemed to be of some 
funeral chambers. The company showed me upon the rocky 
height above, el-Kella, a square pinnacle, wherein they believe 
to be sealed some great treasure. Said Haj Hasan, " Khalil ! 
hast thou not an art to raise this wealth and so take it half for 
thyself and half for us ? divide it thus, we are thy fellowship." 
The outlying palms of the town were now before us ; here 
is a range of pits, air holes, of a water-mine or aqueduct run- 
ning underground to the oasis, — a work, as all such in these 
lands, of the antique Arabians. We crossed there the freshet 
bed which descends from Medain Sarin, almost never flushed 
with rain, the seyl goes out below to the great Hejaz wady, 
W. el-Humth ; in these parts named as often W. el-Jizzl. We 
heard already the savage rumour of their festival, shots fired 
and an hideous drumming. The town yet hidden, my com- 
panions turned to ask me what heart had I to enter with 
them. I answered in their manner, that " I left all unto 
God." The Alowna are noted, by the Aarab, to be of a tyran- 
nical humour within their own palms, and faint hearts in the 
field. Indeed all town Arabs, among whom is less religion 
of guestship, are dangerous, when their heads are warm and 
their hearts elated, with arms in their hands. There wanted 
but some betraying voice from our company, some foolish 
woman's crying " Out upon this kafir ! " and my life might be 
ended by a rash shot. Hasan said this maliciously in my ear, 
who displeased to-day With his aga, in any trouble had not 
perhaps stood by me : but he found it himself an awry 



140 TBAVELS IN ABABIA DESEBTA. 

world. Arrived before the town gate, at an open ground under 
the Harra side, where a throng of villagers was keeping holiday, 
one stepped forth to attach his white mule, for an ancient debt 
of Haj Nejm. Strenuous was then the guttural contention of 
the Moghreby's throat, and yet he durst not resist ; the hated 
Alowna were too many for him : the people thronged upon us. 
Hasan looked pale in the twilight ; and the two contentious; 
went away together with an idle rabble, and the mule, to swear 
before the kddy or village justice. 

With the lad Mohammed I passed through the glooming; 
streets, to the house of the Sheykh of el- Ally, Ddhir ; and 
he there coming forth to receive me, I was surprised in that 
half light to see him a partly negro man, and to hear the 
African voice. Dahir led me to his upper house, which for 
the dampness of the ground in these Hejaz oases, is their 
dwelling chamber. The lad Mohammed recited to him the 
aga's charge, and, taking off his kerchief-cord, he bound the 
sheykh's neck with it, saying that such was the bidding of 
Mohammed Aly, and that he bound him surety to answer for 
me. The Semitic life is full of significant gestures, and sacra- 
mental signs. The Christian religion has signs in this kind, of 
the noblest significance. The Christian is once washed from 
the old sinful nature, to walk in newness of life ; he eateth 
bread and salt with Jesus at the Lord's table ; such tokens being, 
even declared necessary to salvation. Dahir, who had the lips,, 
the hair, the eyes of an Ethiopian with the form of the Arabs, 
boasted himself a sheykh of ancestry in the lineage of Harb. 
He was the sheykh here after his father, as the Beduin sheykhs 
succeed, by inheritance. I think there are few in the town who 
show not the mixture of African blood ; yet they will deny it 
and fetch their descent from old Moghreby colonists, and Je~ 
heyna, and Harb, and Beny Sokhr : but the Moors might have 
been as well Moorish negroes, since the name of an Arabic tribe 
or nation is of both free and bond. The nomads think those 
squalid and discoloured visages to be come so of the working 
of their close valley climate. There are Harb settlers of the full 
blood, in those many hot oases betwixt the Harameyn, which 
are blackish as Africans ; but they have pure lineaments of 
Arabs. 

The resettlement of the ground and foundation of el- Ally is 
ascribed to a palmers' fellowship of forty Barbary derwishes. 
Journeying upon the Syrian haj road, with their religious 
master, from Mecca and Medina, they were pleased with the 
solitary site, where they had found ruins. The holy man bade 
his disciples await him there, whilst he went up to pray in 



EL- ALLY. 141 

Jerusalem. " How, they answered him, may we endure in this 
desert place and there is nothing to drink? " Then the saint 
struck his burdon in the sand, and there welled up a vein of 
water ; it is that lukewarm brook which waters their village : 
also his Jacob's staff put down roots and became a palm tree. 

Dahir regaled me with a little boiled rice ; slender supper 
fare to set before strangers in the hospitable eyes of the nomads : 
he made also coffee of a bean which had lost all savour, and with 
a shallow gracious countenance, bade me tell him truly if this 
were not good to drink. We see in the Arabs' life that those 
which need most are of most hospitality. Famine is ever in 
the desert, it is therefore in men's eyes a noble magnanimity to 
set meat before the wayfaring man. The sheykh of el-Ally 
sat demurely in a mantle of scarlet ; such as it is the custom 
of the Dowla to bestow upon principal sheykhs in token of 
government favour. An astute sober man he was, very peace- 
able in his talk ; Dahir waited among my words that he might 
imagine what countryman I was. In this there surprised me 
the impassioned solitary voice of a muetthin, intoned in the 
winter's night, from the roof of the village mosque (mesjid) next to 
us (here are no minarets) crying to the latter prayers ; and Dahir, 
with an elation of heart, which is proper to their comfortable 
Mohammedan faith, said immediately with devout sighing the 
same words after him, — words which seem to savour for ever of 
the first enthusiasis of the neby of the Arabs, " The only God, 
He is above all ; I do bear witness that there is no god but God 
alone, and I bear witness that Mohammed is the Messenger of 
God." Dahir turned to watch me, that if a Moslem my heart 
also should have danced after the piper : when I looked but 
coldly upon it, this seemed to certify him ; for there is no Moham- 
medan, of whatever good or evil living and condition he be, 
whose heart is not knit to the fresh faith of the " Apostle's " 
religion and who will not pray fervently. Sheykh Dahir said 
now very soberly, " If thou art not a Moslem, tell me what 
art thou, Khalil ; I am as thy father, and is not this a town of 
the Moslemin ? " He would say where is no Beduin wildness, 
but a peaceable civil life in God's fear, under the true religion. 

Dahir went out to his devotion in the mesjid ; and returning 
within a while the elder found his young housewife, and mother of 
his two younger sons, sitting in his place by the hearth, curious to 
discourse with a stranger, and hardly he rebuked her as if she had 
forgot her modesty. " Woman, and thou gives t me every day a 
cause, I shall put thee away ! " he bid her remove, and sit further 
off in the gloom of the chamber ; thus their poor housewives 
are banished from the warmth and light of the cheerful coffee 



i 4 2 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

lire, the husband sitting alone with his friends, in their own 
houses, if the company be not some of their nigh kindred. In 
Nejd there is made, as in the nomad tent, a woman's apart- 
ment. Here I think not many men have more wives than one, 
those that I knew were all simple couples. When he questioned 
me again I answered " I hope it may seem nothing very hard to 
you, that I am of the Engleys, which are allies of the Sultan, as 
you have heard, and they are Nasara ; and I am a Nasrany, 
does this displease you ? So many Christians are in the Sultan's 
country that Stambul is half full of them." And he ; " Well, 
Khalil, repose thyself here without carefulness of heart this 
night, we shall see what may be good to do on the morrow." 

The morning come, as I walked upon the house terrace, 
I heard it cried by children from the next roofs " Aha ! he that 
neither prays nor fasts, — Aha, it is he." I knew then that 
malicious tongues of some of the company from el-Hejr had 
betrayed me. As I heard this cry I would gladly have been out 
of the town, for it had been said over the coffee fire in the 
kella, that these free villagers are very zealous of their religion 
and would be ready to kill me. The sheykh was abroad ; 
Hasan then coming in, who had slept at the kady's, I went out 
with him, and on through the narrow ways to the kady's 
kahwa (coffee-house) ; there the coffee- drinkers with sober cheer 
gave place to a stranger and the pourer-out handed me the 
cup of hospitality. They sat with those pithless looks of the 
Alowna, as it were men in continual languor of fevers under 
that lurid climate ; and this is the Hejaz humour, much other 
than the erect bird-like mind and magnanimous behaviour 
of Nomad, that is Nejd Arabia. The young men abroad were 
perfumed, and sat idle in the streets in the feast day, which 
these townsmen keep till the third morrow ; their nails and the 
palms of their hands, they had now barbarously stained yellow 
with henna. This in their sight is an amiable quaintness of 
young gentlemen ; and some among them had dressed their 
fleecy locks in a fringe of many little cords, not as the bold 
nomads' few plaited locks, but in Ethiopian manner. 

The narrow town ways are very clean but much darkened 
with over-building, less I can suppose because there is not much 
ground-room, than, in their stagnant air, for a freshness of upper 
chambers. At every door is made a clay bench in Arab-wise, 
where householders and passengers may sit friendly discoursing 
and " drink " tobacco. There is no filth cast in their streets, dogs 
may not enter the place, which is well-built and decent more than 
almost any Syrian village. Here is no open bazaar, small wares 
of the daily provision are sold after sunrise at the street corners ; 



THE STREETS OF EL- ALLY. 143 

butchers sell mutton and goat-flesh at half-afternoon without 
the walls : everyone is a merchant, of the fruits of his own ground, 
at home in his own house. Hasan when we were again in the 
street, meeting with some of his late adversaries, began to chide 
anew with them ; the great heart swelled in his Moghreby 
breast that any Alowwy durst lay hand upon the white mule " to 
detain the service of the Sooltan." Among the next benchers 
I sat down ; the people were peaceable and spoke friendly with 
me, none reproached me. Dahir's son came to call me to 
breakfast, I saw as we went an Himyaric inscription very fairly 
sculptured, in embossed letters, in the casement of one of the 
over-built chambers ; whilst I stood to transcribe it, no one 
molested me. Dahir brought me afterward to his kahwa, 
every sheykh has such a public chamber, where coffee is served 
at certain hours. They are here ground chambers, and com- 
monly under the stairs of the host's dwelling-floor above. 

All the house building is here of rude stones, brought from el- 
Khreyby, and laid in loam for mortar. El- Ally is a stone-built 
Moslem village in the manner of antiquity, and though the 
Mohammedan Arabs are nearly always clay-builders ; — nor is it 
because their sandy loam will not bind into bricks. Their rafters 
are of ethl (sing, ethla), the tall-growing kind of tamarisk, and 
palm beams ; the doors of palm boards rudely fashioned with 
the axe. In the midst of their street doors this sign (of which 

no one would give me any interpretation,) is 

often stained in red ochre or coaled with " 
charcoal ; it might, I thought, be the wasm 
of nomad forefathers of the town. A koran 
verset is often written above. The fasten- 
ing, as in all Arabic places, is a wooden lock : the bolt is 
detained by little pegs falling from above into apposite holes, 
the key is a wooden stele, some have them of metal, with 
teeth to match the holes of the lock : the key put in under, 
you strike up the pegs and the slot may be withdrawn. To 
the ringing of the coffee-pestle a company entered, of those 
sitting idle upon the street benches. No one altered his be- 
haviour as they saw the Christian come among them, they 
talked and drank round ; but after the cup they said, " Here, 
Khalil, you are safe in a town of Islam. At el- Ally is good 
company and all that one may need is at hand ; were it not 
more pleasant to live here, than lodged with those askars in 
the kella at el-Hejr ? " Thus they spoke, because there are 
none, who have not an ill opinion of their town. The im- 
patient nomads complain, as in all settled places, of el-wakh'm, 
the filth, the garbage (though cast without the town walls), the 




144 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 



stagnant air, and the rotten-smelling (sulphurous) brook-water, 
of which if they drink but a hearty draught, they think them- 
selves in danger of the oasis fever. 

I would have returned with Hasan to Medain, where I 
hoped to find some manner of scaling the high frontispieces ; 
the aga had promised me the old well-shaft which lay in the 
kella, and might serve for a ladder. I should otherwise 
have thought it great peace and refreshment, to stay still 
shadowing out some days in pleasant discourse in the sweet 
lemon-groves at el-Ally. — But Hasan had loaded and was 
departed. When the coffee friends bore out my baggage to the 
gate, we saw him already far distant : the lad Mohammed, 
having a contention with him came loitering after. The 
villagers laid my bags upon his mule, but he flung them down, 
and when I insisted the cowardly lad thrust his matchlock to 
my breast. Dahir bade me, let this worthless fellow go, and he 
would send me himself to the kella ; the Alowna, despised by the 
men of the garrison, have small goodwill towards the " nefers " 
again. We went homeward, and the sheykh said " There is now 
brotherhood between us, and thou art as my son, Khalil." 

Sitting on the benches they asked me questions in friendly 
sort and after their fiction of the world, as " What is the tax 
which ye, the Nasara, must pay for your heads [as not Moslems] 
to the Sooltan ? " I said, " Our Lady the Queen, Empress of India, 
is the greatest Sultan of el-Islam." And they : " But is not el- 
Hind a land of the Moslemin ? — alas ! el-Islam rdhh, passeth 
away ! What then is the poll-tax that the Moslemin pay to 
the Nasara rulers, eigh ! Khalil ? " When I answered that all 
the subjects of the Sultana enjoy equal civil rights, of what nation 
soever they be or religion, this they found good, since it was to 
the profit of the Moslemin : " But, Wellah ! (tell us sooth by 
God) what brings thee hither? " — " I came but to visit el-Hejr." 
I wondered to see this people of koran readers, bred up in a 
solitary valley of desolate mountains amidst immense deserts, 
of that quiet behaviour and civil understanding. The most of 
the men are lettered but not all ; children learn only from the 
iathers : there are two or three schools held in the mosques, 
in the month of Kamadan. In that rude country the people of 
el-Ally (often called the Medina or City) pass for great scripture- 
read scholars. The town pronunciation is flat like the rest of 
their nature, thus for el-ma, water, they utter an almost sheep- 
like me'." Some said to me, " Our tongue here is rude, we speak 
Beduish." It is nearly I think that Hejaz Arabic which I heard 
afterward in the mouths of the Harb Beduins of Medina. 
El-Ally, in their opinion, is " the beginning of the Hejaz." 






WADY KOBA. 



H5 



They are devout in religion, mild, musing, politic rather than 
fanatics, and such was Mohammed himself ; whereas Nejd men, 
of the nomad blood, are more testy and sudden in their fanati- 
cism. These townsmen (whether partly descended from them 
or no) are of the religious rite of the Moghrebies, el-malakieh. 
I saw many, the sheykh among them, scrupulous, as in abstain- 
ing from tobacco, rather than worthy men. 

El- Ally was never made subject ; yet these villagers tax, 
themselves, their dates and corn every year and send this free- 
will offering " to the Neby," that is to the temple of Medina : 
they are content to be called friends of the Dowla. Once in the 
strong Wahaby days nigh fifty years ago, Ibn Saud came with 
his band and a piece of cannon to have occupied el- Ally. For a 
time they lay before the place and never could speed, their gun 
could not be shot off : so said the Wahaby people, " This is the 
will of Ullah ; look now ! let us be going, it is in vain that we sit 
before el- Ally ; " — and they turned from them. The Beduins 
say, " the Alowna are confident within their plantations, but 
abroad they are less than women." The oasis, in Wady Kurra, 
is the third of a mile over (v. next page). W. Kurra (Kora) 
is all that hollow ground which lies from hence to Medina, and 
commonly called W. Deydibbdn ; although this be no true wady. 
It is the dry waterways of two descending wadies, which meet 
at the midst ; namely the W. Jizzl from these northern parts, 
and the W. el-Humth which descends by el-Medina from 
above Henakieh, passing betwixt the mount Ehad or J. Hamzy 
and their prophet's city. 

The Alowna live quietly under their own sheykhs. Dahir 
was sheykh by inheritance ; not much less in authority and in 
more esteem was the kady Musa ; his is also an inherited office, 
to be arbiter of the Arabs' differences. Musa, who could read, 
was a koran lawyer ; the village justices (which is admirable) 
handle no bribes nor for affection pervert justice, but they re- 
ceive some small fee for their labour. Musa's was a candid just 
soul, not common amongst Arabs ; to him resorted even the 
nomad tribesmen about, for the determining of their differences 
out of " the word of Ullah " ; though they have sheykhs and 
arbiters of their own, after the tradition of the desert. The 
kady in such townships appoints the ransom for every lesser 
crime and the price of blood. They live here kindly together, 
surrounded by the hostile nomads ; human crimes may hardly 
spring in so lowly soil. Under this sickly climate, even their 
young men are sober ; most rarely is there any ruffling of rash 
heads among them. When homicide or other grave crime is 
committed, the guilty with his next kindred must flee from the 
d.t. 10 



146 



TBAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A 



place. After seven years are out, they may return and agree 
for the blood at a price. 







I walked unheeded in the streets of el- Ally and transcribed 
the inscriptions [here all Himyaric] which I found ofttimes upon 
building stones, or to which any friendly persons would lead me. 
There were other, they said, in the inner walls of certain houses. 






VILLAGE CUSTOMS. 147 



Yet some illiberal spirits blamed them, from their benches, where 
we passed. I wandered now alone through the suks or wards, 
whereof twenty-four are counted in all the town, and whereso I 
heard the cheerful knelling of a coffee-pestle, (sign of a sheykh's 
kahwa) I entered. Every public coffee-room is of a fraternity or 
sheykh's partiality, where also any stranger, who is commonly the 
marketing Beduwy, is welcome : there neighbours sit to discourse 
soberly and " drink smoke " ; but small is their coffee, for all are 
of the sparing hand at el-Ally. It is noted of the Alowna 
that they go always armed in their own streets ; — that might 
be from a time when these townsmen were yet few in land of 
the Aarab. They pass by armed to prayers in the mesjids ; the 
elders bear their swords or have some short spear in their 
hands, poorer folk go with long oaken quarter staves, nabut, or 
shun. This is the people's weapon in Hejaz, and therewith cer- 
tain factious suks in Mecca keep the old custom (notwithstanding 
the sanctity of the soil and the Turk's strong garrison), to break 
each other's brows and bones, sometime in the round year, — 
their riots must be dispersed by the soldiery. The fighting-bat is 
an old Semitic weapon : hand-staves are mentioned in the book 
of Samuel and by Ezekiel. The bedels and rake-hell band of 
the chief priest came armed to the garden, to take Jesus, with 
swords and staves. As they enter the mosque they leave their 
bats standing in the entry where they put off their sandals : 
these seen at a house doorway are to any stranger the sign of 
an Ally kahwa. Upon their earthen floors is spread some 
squalid palm matting, which is plaited by the women in all 
palm settlements. Commonly I saw the darraga, target or 
buckler, hanging at the foot of the house stairs, where I entered ; 
this is also Hejaz usage, there are none seen in upland Arabia. 
Those coffee drinkers have the sorry looks of date-eaters and 
go not freshly clad. The nomad kerchief, cast loosely upon 
their heads, is not girded with the circlet-band (agdl), — which is 
the dignity of the Arab clothing. The calico tunics are rusty 
and stiffened upon their backs with powder and sweat ; for soap 
(from Syria) is too dear for them. The swarming of stinging 
flies in the hot winter noon in the date village, was little less 
than under the sepulchral rocks at el-Hejr. 

Jid, or patriarch of el-Ally, (in the Semitic manner to 
lead up every people from a sire, — thus Arabians have 
asked me, " Who is he the Jid of the Engleys ? ") they name 
Allowiy, whose people expelled the B. Sokhr. The place was 
called then Baith Naam, some say Shaab en-Naam. Later 
they find the town written in their old parchments Bundur 
Auldnshy (Alushy) or Bundur AluL It is said there are 

10—2 



148 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

even now Beduin families of B. Sokhr, who draw their due 
of dates every year from el- Ally. The migration of the Beduin 
tribes is commonly upon some drought or warfare ; there are 
great changes thus in few centuries in the nomad occupation 
of the Peninsula. 

Two days after my coming the morrow broke with thunder 
and showers ; the rain lasted till another morning : in nearly 
three years they had not seen the like. My lodging was always 
the sheykh's upper chamber, and almost every well-faring elder 
at el- Ally has two or three houses : — a dwelling-house for him- 
self and his housewife, the house perhaps of his children by a 
former wife, or of his married son, and his store-house. Dahir's 
upper-room walls were hanged with little flails of fine palm- 
straw ware, gauded with ties of scarlet and small sea shells , 
(surely African rather than the curiosity of Arabs !) and with 
mats of the same, sufra, which all Arabic villagers spread at 
meat under the tray of victuals. African in my eyes is the 
gibing humour of this Hejaz population. There is an industry 
here, amongst a few families, of weaving harsh white summer 
mantles of the Beduins' wool, berddn. 

The Arabians inhabit a land of dearth and hunger, and there 
is no worse food than the date, which they must eat in their few 
irrigated valleys. This fruit is overheating and inwardly fret- 
ting under a sultry climate ; too much of cloying sweet, not 
ministering enough of brawn and bone ; and therefore all the 
date-eaters are of a certain wearish visage, especially the poorer 
Nejd villagers, whereas well-faring men from the same oases 
are of a pleasant, so to say, honest aspect : a glance might 
discern among them all the countenance of the milk-drinking 
Beduins. Where the date is eaten alone, as they themselves 
say, human nature decays, and they drink a lukewarm ground- 
water, which is seldom wholesome in these parts of the world. 
I have nowhere in Arabia seen such an improbity, so to 
speak, of the facial lineaments (here infected with negro blood) 
as in this township of el-Ally, and though theirs be the best 
dates in the country. What squalor of bones ! the upper 
face is sunken and flattened, the jaw nearly brute-like and 
without beard. Yet a few families are seen of better blood, 
whitish and ruddy, as the kady Musa and his adherents 
descended (they pretend) from B. Sokhr. The faces of these 
townsmen are so singular, that I could find one Alowwy, even 
without his white mantle, in the thickest market press in 
Damascus. 

The women go closely veiled, and live in the jealous (Hejaz 
or Moorish) tyranny of the husbands ; their long and wide wimples 



A COMFORTABLE TEXT. 149 

are loaded with large glittering shards of mother-of-pearl shells 
from el-Wejh. The wives of my acquaintance, that I have 
seen in their houses partly unveiled, were abject-looking and 
undergrown, without grace of womanhood. The Semitic woman's 
nose-ring, such as Abraham's steward brought to fair Rebekah, 
(it moved the choler of the prophet Isaiah to see them in the 
fair faces of his townswomen,) wide here as the brim of a coffee- 
cup, is hanged in the right nostril and loaded with minute 
silver money ; their foreheads are set out with like clusters in 
the hair. They make, as the daughters of Jerusalem, a tinkle- 
tinkle as they go, and perfume their clothing ; which may be 
perceived as a sickly odour in the street where any woman has 
lately passed. Timid they are of speech, for dread of men's 
quick reprehending : the little girls wear a round plate of 
mother-of-pearl suspended at the breast, their heads are loaded 
with strings and bunches of small silver. 

As I walked by the streets, if any children cried after me 
41 Aha ! the Nasrany I " the elder men turned to rebuke them. 
Where I sat down in any kahwa, a comfortable text was 
commonly spoken among them, kul waked aly din-hu, "every 
one in his own religion." The sheykhly persons, fearing to utter 
ignorances before the people, forbore to question the stranger ; 
but they lent a busy ear whilst the popular sort asked me 
of many things, and often very fondly as " Wellah ! is there 
not in the Christian seas, a land where they breed up black 
men to eat them ? " One who had been in Damascus related 
that the Christians in their great mid-winter festival (Christmas) 
offered in sacrifice a Mohammedan ; but others who had visited 
the north disputed with him, saying that it was not so. Some 
of them said " the Nasara be not so malignant towards the 
Moslemin, as the Yahud ; the Jews are heathens and theirs 
is a secret religion." Another answered, " Nay, but they worship 
the thor, steer, (that is Aaron's calf)." I said, " The Jews have 
a law of God delivered by the hand of Moses, which you call 
the Towrat, they worship God alone." It was answered, " If this 
be so they do rightly, but the Yahud are of cursed kind, and 
they privily murder the Moslemin." 



CHAPTEK VI. 



EL-ALLY, EL-KHREYBY, MEDAIN. 

A Jew arrived at el-Ally. A Turkish Pasha banished thither. The warm 
brook of the oasis. The orchards. The population. Abundance of rice from 
el-Wejh. Ddhir's talk. Abu Bashid. A n Arabic Shibboleth. Practice of medi- 
cine. Fanaticism in the town. Arabs have wandered through the African 
Continent very long ago. A Christian {fugitive) who became here a Moslem. The 
Khreyby is one of the villages of Hejra. Himyarite tombs and inscriptions. 
The Mubbidt. Korh. Antara, hero-poet. Ddhir's urbanity. Return to Meddin. 
Violence of M. Aly. His excuses. Ladder-beam to scale the monuments. The 
epitaphs impressed. Rain in Arabia. The sculptured birds. Sculptured human 
masks. The Semitic East a land of sepulchres. The simple Mohammedan burial. 
" The sides of the pit " in Isaiah and Ezekiel. The Nabatean manner to bury. A 
sealed treasure upon the rock Howwdra : to remove it were the end of the world. 
A Moorish magical raiser of hid treasures. Miracles of the East. A Syrian Messiah 
in Damascus. Visit to the house of fools. Blasphemous voice of the camel- 
Sepulchre of the prophet Jonas. The judgment of Europeans weakened by sojourn 
in the East. Hydrography. The nejjdb arrives. The Moslem and the European 
household life. All world's troubles are kindled by the hareem. They trust the 
Nasdra more than themselves. Beduin robbers of the Haj. A night alarm. 
Habalis or foot robbers.. Alarms continually about us. Contentious hareem cor- 
rected with the rod. 

I heard here, from many credible persons, that a certain 
Yahudy was once come to them some years before, they thought 
from the coast ; others said from Jerusalem. They had found 
a pleasure in the stranger's discourse ; for he was of the Arabic 
tongue, one well studied therein and eloquent : also they heard 
from him many admirable things of the Jewish Scriptures, 
" which were not far from their own thoughts, and agreeable 
with many places of ' God's word.' " Some of the principal 
persons had called him to eat with them. The Yahudy went 
upon a day to visit Medain Salih, and returned saying, those 
old monuments were of the Nasara, (neither Jew nor Moham- 
medau has any natural curiosity in architecture). They could 



A BANISHED MAN. 151 

not certainly tell me what became of him ; some thought 
he had gone from them to Kheybar. Later at Teyma, the 
sheykh spoke to me of a stranger who had passed there not 
many years ago, and stayed a day or two in his house, " one who 
would not travel upon the sabt " (Sabbath). When afterwards 
I was at Kheybar, the villagers told me of a Yahudy, who 
came thither from el- Ally as they supposed ; for Arabs, so 
remiss in the present, are commonly fatally incurious of all 
time past. ' He remained in their valleys to seek for treasure ; 
he had been found in fault with some woman of the place ; 
he fell sick and perished,' I could not learn in what manner ; — 
it might be they would not frankly tell me. When the coffee- 
drinkers required me to speak some noble word out of my 
religion, I said to them, " Honour thy father and thy mother/' 
and with this they were very well pleased. Though a sober 
and religious people, I saw card-playing used amongst them ; 
this carding is spread to the Hejaz villages from the town coffee- 
houses and dissolute soldiers' quarters of Medina. In Medina 
there is much tippling in arrak, brutish hemp smoking and 
excess of ribald living. 

Dahir was the more careful of me as he heard that the 
Haj functionaries had charged the kella keepers for my safety. 
He remembered, in his father's time, a certain pasha, fallen 
into disgrace at Stambul : — when the Sultan had demanded * into 
what extreme part of his dominions he might banish his courtier 
out of the world for ever ; ' it was answered him, " There is 
beyond Syria a little oasis of palms lying out by the haj road, 
in land of the Beduw." The poor gentleman, relegated to 
el-Ally, lodged two years in the house of the sheykh, Dahir's 
father. The Sultan after that time, remembering his ancient 
kindness, sent for the sad exile and restored him, and com- 
manded that money should be given to the village sheykh, 
with his imperial firman, naming him " a well-doer to the 
Dowla." 

Their date-groves and corn-plots are in the breadth of the 
W. el-Kurra, irrigated by the lukewarm brook, and by some other 
lesser springs which rise in the midst of the oasis, all of flat and 
ill-tasting tepid water, exhaling a mephitic odour, as the sulphur- 
ous stream at Palmyra. In all are the same small turreted 
shells, and in this brook side I found much growth of a kind of 
fresh- water sponges. The warmth of the strong-running channel 
which is two and a half feet deep, I found to be constantly 92° F. ; 
that was in the village three or four hundred paces from the 
mouth of the conduit, and thrice as much perhaps from the 
source. The watercourse reeks in the chill of the morning : in 



152 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

it the townsmen wash themselves as they go to the mesjids, 
and there are made some enclosed bathing-places, above, for 
women. The height of the oasis I found equal to the land- 
height of Damascus ! this I could not have guessed without the 
instrument, but the Arabs divined it ; and Haj Nejm was 
constant in the opinion that the plain of Medain must lie a 
little above the soil of Damascus. The outlying palms above 
the level of the springs, are watered out of well-pits dug to 
twenty-seven feet in the sand and twenty wide. This ground- 
water, which is cooler and brackish, is drawn by the walking to 
and fro of their small humped kine. 

The orchards of palms and sweet lemons are very well hus- 
banded. The higher grounds of the shelving valley side are 
digged out deeply, to the irrigating spring level ; so that the 
public paths seemed to be raised as wide walls which divide those 
plantations, and the beautiful spreading heads of palms, not 
here tall-growing, appear as rising from the floor of the ground. 
Many crooked palms spring together from one stem ; they are 
old suckers let grow to trees when the mother stock is fallen. 
Here in the Hejaz they sell their refreshing sweet lemons to the 
Haj : but bargaining of fruits (not being food, as dates) would be 
unbecoming any honourable man in the near Nejd. The orange 
is unknown, so far as I have seen, in Arabia. There are not many 
vines, but every family has some plant or two, never pruned, climb- 
ing upon trees or in trellises, for their refreshment in the hot 
midsummer. Of stone fruit they have no more than the plum, 
though some of their young men go up every year to Damascus, 
to hire themselves as husbandmen. They cultivate upon the 
ground, as in the other Arabian Tillages, great pumpkins, dibba, 
of which gobbets, as it were fat flesh, are mingled with their weak 
porridge, and they think this a supper to set before guests. It is 
delicious to see all this beautiful burden of green upon a soil 
which is naturally naked loam-bottom, and driving desert sand. 
Besides the small humped kine for their field labour they have 
a few weak asses for carriage ; almost every household has a milch 
goat or two and poultry. There were no more than two horses 
in the town ; of what service should the warlike animals be to 
so unwarlike masters ? The Alowna will pay no " brothership " 
to the Beduw for their town, which they never quit, unless to 
ride sometime in their lives, with the Haj, to the holy places, or 
ascend with the returning caravan to Syria. 

All the cultivated oasis is nigh two miles, the town is 
narrow, upon the wady side, under the Harra. From those 
cliffs, I have seen all the houses together to be about four 
hundred. The population I had otherwise estimated at 



A DISCOURSE OF PHILOSOPHY. 153 

1300 persons, yet the townspeople guess themselves to be 5000 
or 6000 souls ! The Beduins say they are 1500 guns, that is, as 
I have commonly found in their reckonings, nearly the true tale 
of all souls, 1500 persons. They raise much more of their palms 
and corn grounds than suffices them ; that which is over they 
sell for silver to the Beduw, and many hoards of coffered reals 
are said to be lying in the town. They take up with their dates 
also much India rice, which is brought hither in the sack from 
el-Wejh (el-Wesh), the Ked Sea coast village, and rice-bundur of 
all this north-west country ; this they sell again to the nomads. 
Middle men in the traffic are certain Billi Beduins : the 
Beduwy rice-carrier will take up his lading from the Wejh 
merchants, two sacks for a camel, at ten reals. For the same at 
•el-Ally, six journeys after, through their own mostly peaceable 
dira, he can have sixteen to twenty reals, or may load home dates 
in bales of palm matting, from this cheap market. Yet the 
poor Beduins are not much allured by such gains of their 
honest industry, neither think they again of the road whilst they 
have anything left to eat at home with their families. We see 
at el-Ally the simplest kind of trading and interchange of 
commodities. The price of rice inland from the coast, is 
so raised by the intolerable cost of camel-carriage, that it 
is hardly found so far as Teyma. The Beduins beyond use 
wheaten messes, or they draw temmn, that is river-rice from 
Mesopotamia. Of Ally dates the helw kind, soft and tasting 
almost like honey, is stored in old girby skins, shenna, mujellad ; 
beginning to dry they crystallize. Many shennas are carried up 
every year in the Syrian Haj, and the honey-date of el- Ally 
is served for a sweetmeat to visiting guests in Mohammedan 
homes, at Damascus. The berni date, long and wan, is their 
cheaper household food, and of this there are many kinds. The 
town is walled under the Harra, which dams from them the 
healthful western or sea winds, and open from the side of the 
orchards. There are two main gates, besides doors, from the 
desert, the woodwork in my time was ruinous ; they were 
never shut. 

Long were the evenings at Dahir's coffee fire, where there 
came no visiting guests. Dahir was very discreet and covert 
to enquire what place I held in my own country ; that seeing 
me regarded by the Dowla, he knew not what manner of 
man might be under my Arab cloak. When he pressed me 
I answered, " I have none other than the trade of fulsifa 
(<t>i\oao(f)ia), it is pleasant to secede from the town to the silent 
desert." — " And does this bring thee alone to el-Hejr, when thou 
wast well at home, — to this perilous land of the Aarab, to suffer 



154 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 



much disease ? " — " Why should we fear to live or to die, so it 
be upon a rightful way ? when the heart is warm all things 
appear light." — " Words, my son ; and thine is a bootless task, 
for thou art out of the way, not being in the saving religion." 
Dahir could not gainsay me when I alleged " Solomon father of 
David," (this is as they ignorantly speak,) a name venerable 
amongst them, or when I praised el-fiilsify, also an honourable 
word with them, or magnified learning above the excellencies 
in the world. " What need, said he, of all this learning ? but 
one thing is needful, a man should know Ullah to be the 
only God and his messenger Mohammed ; and all the rest is 
of little advantage. Were it not better for thee, forsaking 
these vanities, to confess the faith of Islam ? from henceforth 
leading thy life in this mild and peaceable way of the religion, 
which will be well for thy soul's safety at the last." And Dahir 
smiling religious solace to himself, sighed with a sidelong look 
and upcasting of the eyes ; he snuffled in his holy talk like 
an honest Eoundhead. 

There were lodging at el- Ally two Damascus tradesmen of 
the Medan, that come down with clothing-stuffs for the Beduins 
in every pilgrimage. I went at their request to pass an evening 
with them. The men were sons of old kella keepers at Medain 
Salih. One of them, Abu Kashid, had trafficked to Egypt, and 
could tell marvels of great cities lighted with gas, of waterworks 
and railroads, all made he affirmed by the Engleys whom he 
praised as the most ingenious and upright of the Frank nations. 
This year he would send his son, he told us, to the English schools 
in Syria : — the new technic instruction, (by which only they think 
they fall short of the Europeans,) is all the present appetite 
of such up-waked Mohammedan Arabs. Taking a solemn 
volume in hand, bound in red leather, in which he studied re- 
ligion and philosophy, he read forth where mention was made of 
the Platonical sect. The barbarous Arabic authors, without 
knowledge of the tongues or times, discourse with disdainful 
ineptitude of the noblest human spirits which lived almost 
a thousand years before their beginning, and were not ac- 
quainted with their neby Mohammed. Abu Rashid noting, 
my imperfect and unready speech, " These Franks labour, said 
he, in the Arabic utterance, for they have not a supple tongue : 
the Arabs' tongue is running and returning like a wheel, and 
in the Arabs all parts alike of the mouth and gullet are organs 
of speech ; but your words are born crippling and fall half dead 
out of your mouths. — What think you of this country talk ? 
have you not laughed at the words of the Beduw ? what is this 
gbtar (went) — A-ha-ha ! — and for the time of day their gowwak 



FANATICISM. 155 

(the Lord strengthen thee) and keyfmurak (how do thy affairs 
prosper ?) who ever heard the like ! " He told this also of the 
Egyptian speech : a battalion of Ibrahim Pasha's troops had 
been closed in and disarmed by the redoubtable Druses, in the 
Leja (which is a lava field of the Hauran). The Druses coming 
on to cut them in pieces, a certain Damascene soldier among 
them cried out " Aha ! neighbours, dakhalakom, grant protec- 
tion, at least to the Shwam (Syrians), which are owldd el-watn, 
children of the same soil with you ! " It was answered, ' The}' 
would spare them if they could discern them.' ' Let me alone 
for that, said the Damascene ; — and if they caused the soldiers 
to pass one by one he could discern them.' It was granted, and 
he challenged them thus, " Bagel (Egyptian for Bajil), man, 
say Gamel! " every Syrian answered Jemel ; and in this manner 
he saved his countrymen and the Damascenes. 

I thought to begin here the vaccination and my practice of 
medicine. But no parents brought me their children, only few 
sick persons visited me, and those were nearly desperate cases, to 
enquire for medicines ; even such went back again when they 
understood they must spend for the remedies, though it were but 
two or three groats. If I said, Are not medicines the gift of 
Ullah ? they answered, " We are trusting in Ullah." — " But, 
when another day the disease is amongst you and your children 
dying before your faces ? " — " There can happen nothing but 
by the appointment of Ullah." This is the supine nature of 
Arabs, that negligence of themselves, and expectation of heaven 
to do all for them, which they take for a pious acquiescence 
in the true faith : this fond humour passed into their religion 
we have named the fatalism of Mohammedans. At el- 
Hejr the gate Arabs desired of me hijabs or amulets ; such 
papers, written with the names of Ullah, they would steep 
in water, and think themselves happy when they had drunk it 
down. 

When tumblers come to a town the people are full of 
novelty, but having seen their fill they are as soon weary of 
them ; so these few peaceable days ended, I saw the people's 
countenances less friendly ; the fanatical hearts of some swelled to 
see one walking among them that rejected the saving religion of 
the apostle of Ullah. If children cried after the heathen man, 
their elders were now less ready to correct them. A few ill- 
blooded persons could not spare to crake where I passed from 
their street benches : " Say Mohammed rasul Ullah ! " but 
others blamed them. In an evening I had wandered to the 
oasis side : there a flock of the village children soon assembling 



156 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

with swords and bats followed my heels, hooting, " Nasrany ! 
Nasrany ! " and braving about the kafir and cutting crosses 
in the sand before me, they spitefully denied them, shouting 
such a villanous carol, " We have eaten rice with halib 
(milk) and have made water upon the salib (cross)." The 
knavish boys followed ever with hue and cry, as it were in 
driving some uncouth beast before them, until I came again to 
the town's end, where they began to stone me. There was a 
boy among the troop of dastardly children who ever stoutly 
resisted the rest, and cursed with all his might the fathers that 
begat them. With great tears in his eyes he walked backwards 
opposing himself to them, as if he would shelter me with his 
childish body ; so I said, " See, children, this is a weled el-halal 
(son of rightfulness), think rather to be such, every one of you, 
than to despise the stranger, the stranger is a guest of Ullah." 
This behaviour in the children was some sign of the elders' 
meaning, from whom doubtless they had heard their villanous 
riming ; — the same that was chanted by the Mohammedan 
children at Damascus, for few days before the atrocious fratri- 
cide of the Nasara. And the Semitic religions would have 
none draw breath of life in the earth beside themselves, and 
keep touch with no man without : — extreme inhumanities that 
Mohammed had noted in his difficult times in the iniquitous 
Jews. 

A poor young man of the Alowna for his dollar or two may 
ride to Damascus, 550 miles, upon some dromedary croup, with 
the Ageyl riders : they often apprentice themselves in the Syrian 
city to learn stone-building of the Nasara. I found one here, a 
tall fellow, who years past was gone a soldiering, in the jehad, 
to the Crimea. He told me it was far ways and over seas ; 
and this is all that such men can report of any distant parts 
they have visited, for the world's chart is always unknown 
to them. There are Arabs who wander wide as the continents 
and returning (as the unschooled and barbarous) cannot declare 
to us their minds : Arabs have travelled very long ago over all 
the face of Africa, without leaving record. I saw a young 
Syrian living here covertly ; a conscript, he had deserted in 
el-Yemen. The lad's town was Nazareth, and he was somewhat 
troubled to see me. 

Another day I wandered to the further border of the oasis, 
where herd-lads were keeping the few goats of the village. — 
Upon a sudden there started from the tamarisks a fiendly 
looking Beduin whom the lads not knowing they cried out " He 
is one of the Howeytat," and lifting their staves and taking 
clods in their hands, thev bade him stand off. The wretch 



SALIH. 157 

fastening two robbers' eyes upon me, asked " What man is he ! 
and is he of you ? " I said to him, " Accursed be the villain thy 
father ! away with thee ! " — " Hi-hi-hi ! I go," and he vanished, 
with a strange shouting, as if he called to lurking fellows of his 
in the thicket. " The enemies are upon us," said the lads, and 
hastily they drove their goats within the walls. Sheykh Dahir 
reproved me gravely at evening, saying that I seemed to be 
a man of some instruction, and yet was one unwise, foolhardy 
and daily disobedient to his better counsel. " Open thy eyes,. 
Khalil, and be advised ere there befall thee a great mischief ; but 
I have forewarned thee." Dahir added with an under-smile 
worthy of his inhuman faith, ' he were not then to be blamed,' 
( — there would be one kafir less in God's world.) Another while 
as I sat without the town gate, under the Harra, with an Ally 
man, a shower of stones tumbled upon us : we went back and saw 
a sneaking wretch climbing in the cliff above. My companion, 
with the short indignation of the Arabs, levelling his match- 
lock, cried to him to cast again — . I would ere this have re- 
turned to el-Hejr ; but Dahir bade me have patience for a few 
days that Howeytat footsteps had been seen in the boghraz. I 
asked how could they know the tribe thus ? — " By the length of 
their foot, which is more than of any neighbouring Beduins : " 
yet those tribesmen are said to be " small-footed as women." 
The most nomads of these parts, going at all times without 
sandals, have heavy flat feet. 

The sheykh was good enough to send me to see the Khreyby 
rocks and ruins, with one of the town who undertook the service 
willingly. This was Sdlih el-Moslemany, a principal tradesman 
to the marketing nomads in the town, and client of Dahir. 
He was well affected to me because his father's kindred were 
Christians. Salih's father was come hither (a fugitive perhaps) 
from Egypt : to dwell at el- Ally he must needs become a con- 
fessor of Islam, and had then received the neophyte surname 
el-Moslemany. His son, who passed for a good Mohammedan, 
and had made more journeys than one to the prophet's city, 
tendered for his sake the name of the Nasara. Sarin challenged 
by some that he favoured the Nasrany thought himself obliged 
to iterate immediately the confession of faith, saying solemnly 
in their hearing, " La ilah UV Ullah " and with most emphasis, 
" wa Mohammed rasul Ullah" Salih excused himself, this 
morning, ' it was late, those who had gone to that part to gather 
sticks would be returning presently ; ' but Dahir said we might 
go, and sent his nephew with us. 

They came then girded in their old rent clothing, and carry- 
ing long matchlocks. We passed the outlying palms and the seyl 



158 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

to the Ras el-Ayn, or " fountain-head " of their brook, a dark pit 
twenty-five feet deep to the under-rushing water. Then begin 
the ruins, el-Khreyby ; so we came to the " Naga's milking pail," 







The Harra. Outlying palms Cliffs of 

Moallak el-Hameydy. towards el-Hejr. el-Khreyby. 



■mah'leb ndkat neby Salih, or helwiat en-Neby, " the prophet's 
milk-bowl " (fig. p. 139). This is a rock which has been wrought 
into a cistern. I found it twelve feet wide, and measured from 
without it is seven and a half feet at the highest : within, a stair 
is left in the stone of three tall steps ; the wall is massy, I think 
thirteen inches at the lip. The colossal jurn within and without 
is scored over with other cattle marks than those of the tribes 
of nomads which now inhabit this country. Gross pot-sherds 
are strewed in this heaped ground of ruins, where we passed 
with difficulty over rugged banks of loose building-stones. 
The antique houses were of sandstone blocks, mostly untrimmed, 
laid in clay ; some clay-walling is yet seen obscurely under the 
heaps, where stones have been lately carried : el-Ally was thus 
built, but there remain more stones than might build again 
their village. The ancient houses were smaller, and here has 
been a town, it may be, of nearly four thousand inhabitants. 
Lettered persons at el-Ally say that this is also Keriat Hejr, 
and they recited for me the solemn words of God's great 
curse over the villages of the plain that " they should never rise 
again." 

We came to the partly quarried cliff, in which were engraved 
Himyaric embossed inscriptions of many lines. As I began to 
transcribe the first we were startled by a voice, for every new 
sight or sound is dreadful in the anarchy of the desert. Salih 
exclaimed, " Wellah, hess ez-zillamy, I heard man's voice ; " they 
struck sparks and blew hastily the matches of their long guns. 
Salih, though a sickly body, handled his tools with mettle and 
stood up to fight like a man. We heard now, as they sup- 
posed, some " Howeyty come on singing " ; his robber com- 
panions might be behind him, and they hid themselves, as 
was easy in that cragged place. The causer of our cares, who 
went by, was none other than the unlucky negro servant of 



160 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Dahir, a fugitive from Kheybar, the wretch had failed us to-day, 
and he was ever to me, as all the Kheyabara, only an occasion of 
sorrow. We found the cliff full of scored inscriptions, and all were 
Himyaric ; whereas at Medain Salih they are always Nabatean. 
My companions very impatiently reminded me in every passing 
moment, that the sun descended, and of our peril in that place. 
I transcribed all the antique Himyaric legends, saving those 
from which we had been untimely startled, and visited all the 
chambers. These are not many ; their mouths, as has been 
said, appear like dark windows in the cliff : a few other 
resembled rude caverns ; in some of which I found a small 
chamber and simple surface sepulchres. Every sepulchral cell 
in the precipice is but a four-square loculus, hewn back from the 
entry to the length of a human body, and in some obliquely ; it 
may be, that these old star-gazers were not without some formal 
observance of the heaven, in their burials, which look westward. 
At length we came to cells, the last towards the south (v. p. 159), 
which are the most strange of all ; and being no more than a mile 
from the town, yet only single persons of the timorous Alowna had 
seen them in their lives. Upon the cliff at the upper corners of 
a middle one of them, which is hewn back obliquely, are certain 
square tablets with sculptured images, not unlike mummy- 
chests of Egypt. The nomads call them bendt, " maidens," for 
have not these enigmatic sculptures (in their rude sight) bare 
shanks, body muffled and head wimpled, in the guise of towns- 
women ? 

Betwixt the benat a small square tablet is entailed upon the 
smooth cliff-face, as it were for the epitaph, but void ; a title is 
chiselled upon the rock next beneath, but the Himyaric letters 
were a little beyond my sight. Further in the next bay of the 
cliff are two more sepulchral loculi, and over them an image- 
tablet of a pair of benat ; those benat's heads are sculptured a 
little otherwise : and besides these, so far as I could learn, 
" there are no more." Scored upon those rocks we found also 
an antique human figure ; — the Arabs to-day do not limn so 
roundly. The ancient Arabian wears a close tunic to the knee, 
upon his head is a coif. One brought to me at el-Ally, an 
ancient image of a man's head, cut in sand- 
stone ; upon the crown was made a low pointed 
bonnet. When the finder demanded more 
than a little money, I thought prudent to re- 
ject it. I found also, in the Khreyby ruins, 
an antique tablet only fourteen inches wide, 
made with little hollowed basins ; it might be 
taken for a money changer's table or a table 




KORH, [6 1 

of offerings : three or four more of them I have seen built in 
house-walls in the town. 

At el-Khreyby, then, the manner of building, of burial, of 
writing, are other than at el-Hejr only ten miles distant ! 

We found in the sand where an hyena had lately passed : 
Salih asked if I knew the slot. I have often seen the traces 
in these parts and in Sinai, but not in highland Arabia : one 
such land-loping wild beast may in a night time leave foot- 
prints through a whole district ; they must be few which sub- 
sist in a nearly lifeless country. The Alowna say very well 
of the Himyaric legends, " they are like the Habashy " (Abys- 
sinian form of writing). A fanatical person once stayed me in 
the street saying, he had at home two volumes written in these 
letters ! I could not persuade him to let me see them, because 
he would do the kafir no pleasure. 

The villagers and nomads spoke to me of a ruined site 
in these parts, el-Mubbidt. This is a plural word, and may 
signify the sites of several ruined hamlets in one oasis. They 
say buried treasures lie there, and it was of old a principal 
town. That ground, six miles from el-Ally, is a plain with 
acacia trees, separated from W. Kurra by a narrow train of the 
mountain : it is a loam and clay bottom crusted with salt. 
" Incense " is found there, and human bones as at Medain, and 
potsherds and much broken glass in rings, "as it were of 
women's bracelets." There are ruined clay buildings, and a few 
of clay and stone ; but as Salih told me, faithfully, there are 
neither chambers hewn in the rock nor engraved inscriptions. 
Dahir said he would send me thither, but I thought it beside 
the present purpose. Some Welad Aly Beduins have found 
pieces of gold money at Mubbiat, I heard that the titles were 
in Kufic, " There is no God but the Lord" We see there is 
no long tradition in Arabia ; I found no memory in this country 
of the busy trading town Korh, mentioned by some of the 
old Mohammedan travellers. I have enquired among all the 
nomads, but they had not heard it ; the lettered men of el- Ally 
had no notice of such a name. I hoped to have seen the 
wilderness southward as far as Zmurrud with Mohammed Aly, 
who awaited orders to visit that ruinous kella. In the next 
mountain valleys towards Medina are not a few ruined sites 
of good villages ; in that sandstone country may be many scored 
inscriptions. 

By Hedieh, a haj-road kella at the W. el Humth, are re- 
ceived the waters seyling from Kheybar. Far to the south-east 
is a side valley descending to the W. Kurra or bed of the 
Humth, in which are notable ruins, Korh, of a place greater, as 
d. t. 11 



1 62 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

the Beduins report, than el-Ally. The ground is rugged be- 
tween hills and somewhat wider than the valley at el-Ally. 
There are seen many plots of old buildings, and among them a 
ruined kella. The B. Wahab have no tradition of Korh, not- 
withstanding that the district is theirs from antiquity. If 
this were K(Gk)orh they would pronounce Gorh, or else Jorh ; 
that which they say is plainly Korh. In these parts is the 
country of the poet-hero Antara : none matched him of the 
antique nomads, whether in warlike manhood, or in the songs 
of the desert ; he is maker of one of the seven golden poems. 
Near the next kella, Sujwa, is a mountain named Istabal Antar, 
" Antar's stable." At the mountain head, their fabulous eyes 
see a " manger " great as a cistern, and the stony rings, " where 
the hero's mares stood bound"; Antara they take to have 
been a man of five or six fathoms in stature. The Moor Haj 
Nejm had seen there, he told me, " a railroad " ; — these simple 
men believe in good faith that telegraph and railways be come 
down to us from the beginning of the world. The rock may be 
sandstone, with certain veins of ironstone. 

I would hastily return to Medain, to impress the epitaphs, and 
make a good end of this enterprise. The sheykh had more than 
once agreed with marketing Beduins in the town, to convey me ; 
but at the hour of departure they failed us. Dahir, sorry to see 
his town authority no more set by in their eyes, reproached 
them with this urbanity, " Thy name is Beduwy." The towns- 
folk deal roughly with the common sort of ragged nomads 
that come to el- Ally ; but they esteem their chiefs, the sheykhs 
of the desert, who are their paymasters, and men of gentler 
behaviour than any townsmen. Dahir was religious rather 
than good-hearted ; his crabbed black visage drawn by mo- 
ments into some new form, and the weakness of his authority, 
were a discomfort to me ; I had no hope in him at all. I asked 
Dahir had he travelled in the countries, had he seen Damascus ? 
" What needeth me, he answered, to see es-Sham, here are we 
not well enough ? " — And it is true that Dahir could not be 
more urbane, nor is there more civil town life than theirs even 
at Damascus. I said now I would return on foot to el-Hejr. 
" I will send you myself, said Dahir, the Beduins are akarit!" — ■ 
that is a villanous (Medina) word to be found in honest 
men's mouths ! Salih, hearing I would depart, asked me pri- 
vately had I found by divination tamyis, if the chance were 
good for this day's journey ? When I enquired of his art, " What ! 
said he, you know not this ? how, but by drawing certain lines 
in the sand ! and it is much used here." Dahir bade me return, 
in case I should be coldly received by those askars in the kella, 



DANGEB IN THE KELLA. 163 

to pass with him the few weeks which remained till the Haj ; 
yet with a waspish word he blessed us all in an irony, which 
had been causes to him of this trouble ; " The Lord have mercy 
upon Mohammed Aly's father, and upon the Dowla, and upon 
the father of Khalil's country ! " He had six guns ready, and 
sent his son with them to accompany me as far as the wells ; his 
unlucky negro servant of Kheybar came on driving a weak ass 
with my light baggage. At el-Khreyby I went aside to copy the 
sculptured inscriptions, from which we had before been startled. 
(Documents Epigraphiques PL xv.) The soil is good loam- 
ground, and we found mere-stones set two and two together of 
the ancient acres. My companions exclaimed, " Ha, these were 
their old landmarks, and we have not minded them before ! " 
They returning then, I continued my journey with the Kheybary. 
Walking three hours through a wilderness of crags, we came 
upon the plain brow of el-Hejr, where Ethlib appeared before us, 
that landmark of mountain spires and pinnacles ; and soon we 
discerned the cliffs, (called by the Alowna J. Shakhundb, though 
this, among the nomads, is the name of a mountain north of the 
Mezham,) with their wonderful hewn architecture, the borj and 
the haj -road kella. 

Upon the morrow I asked of Mohammed Aly to further me 
in all that he might ; the time was short to accomplish the 
enterprise of Medain Salih. I did not stick to speak frankly ; but 
I thought he made me cats'-eyes. " You cannot have forgotten 
that you made me certain promises ! " — " I will give you the gun 
again." This was in my chamber ; he stood up, and his fury 
rising, much to my astonishment, he went to his own, came 
again with the carbine, turned the back and left me. I set 
the gun again, with a friendly word, in the door of his cham- 
ber, — " Out ! " cried the savage wretch, in that leaping up and 
laying hold upon my mantle : then as we were on the gallery 
the Moorish villain suddenly struck me with the flat hand and 
all his mad force in the face, there wanted little of my falling 
to the yard below. He shouted also with savage voice, " Dost 
thou not know me yet ? " He went forward to the kahwa, and 
I followed him, seeing some Beduins were sitting there ; — the 
nomads, who observe the religion of the desert, abhor the 
homely outrage. I said to them, " Ya rubbd, fellowship, ye 
are witnesses of this man's misdoing." The nomads looked 
coldly on aghast ; it is damnable among them, a man to do his 
guest violence, who is a guest of Ullah. Mohammed Aly, 
trembling and frantic, leaping up then in his place, struck me 
again in the doorway, with all his tiger's force ; as he heaped 

11—2 



1 64 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

blows I seized his two wrists and held them fast. " Now, I 
said, have done, or else I am a strong man." He struggled, 
the red cap fell off his Turk's head, and his stomach rising afresh 
at this new indignity, he broke from me. The sickly captain of 
ruffian troopers for a short strife had the brawns of a butcher, 
and I think three peaceable men might not hold him. As for 
the kella guard, who did not greatly love Mohammed Aly, they 
stood aloof with Haj Nejm as men in doubt, seeing that if my 
blood were spilt, this might be required of them by the Pasha. 
The nomads thought by mild words to appease him, there durst 
no man put in his arm, betwixt the aga and the Nasrany. 
" — Aha ! by Ullah ! shouted the demon or ogre, now I will mur- 
der thee." Had any blade or pistol been then by his belt, it is 
likely he had done nothing less ; but snatching my beard with 
canine rage, the ruffian plucked me hither and thither, which is 
a most vile outrage. By this the mad fit abating in, his sick 
body, and somewhat confused as he marked men's sober looks 
about him, and to see the Nasrany bleeding, who by the Pasha 
had been committed to him upon his head, he hastily re-entered 
the kahwa, where I left them. The better of the kella crew were 
become well affected towards me, even the generous coxcomb of 
Haj Hasan was moved to see me mishandled : but at a mischief 
they were all old homicides, and this aga was their paymaster, 
though he embezzled some part of their salary, besides he 
was of their Moorish nation and religion. If M. Aly came 
with fury upon me again, my life being endangered, I must 
needs take to the defence of my pistol, in which, unknown to 
them, were closed the lives of six murderous Arabs, who, as 
hounds, had all then fallen upon a stranger : and their life had 
been for my life. As we waken sometime of an horrid dream, I 
might yet break through this extreme mischief, to the desert ; 
but my life had been too dearly purchased, when I must wander 
forth, a manslayer, without way, in the hostile wilderness. All 
the fatigues of this journey from Syria I saw now likely to be lost, 
for I could not suffer further this dastardly violence. The mule 
M. Aly came by and marking me sit peaceably reading at the 
door of my chamber, with a new gall he bade me quit those 
quarters, and remove with my baggage to the liwdn. This is 
an open arch-chamber to the north in Damascus wise ; there 
is made the coffee-hearth in summer, but now it was deadly 
cold in the winter night at this altitude. He gave my chamber 
to another, and I must exchange to his cell on the chill side, 
which was near over the cesspool and open to its mephitic emana- 
tions when the wind lay to the kella. After this M. Aly sent the 
young Mohammed to require again, as rahn, a pledge, the gun 



SALUTARY EXECUTIONS, JIDDA & DAMASCUS. 165 

which had been left in my doorway. I carried the gun to M. Aly : 
he sat now in his chamber, chopf alien and staring on the ground. 
At half-afternoon I went over to the kahwa ; Haj Nejm and 
M. Aly sat there. I must ascertain how the matter stood ; 
whether I could live longer with them in the kella, or it were 
better for me to withdraw to el- Ally. I spread my biuruldi, a 
circular passport, before them, from a former governor of Syria. 
— " Ah ! I have thirty such firmans at home." — " Are you not 
servitors of the Dowlat es- Sultan ? " — " I regard nothing, nor 
fear creature ; we are Moghrareba, to-day here, to-morrow 
yonder ; what to us is the Dowla of Stambul or of Mambul ? " — 
1 And would you strike me at Damascus? " — "By the mighty 
God men are all days stricken and slain too at es-Shem. Ha ! 
Englishman, or ha ! Frenchman, ha ! Dowla, will you make me 
remember these names in land of the Aarab ? " — " At least you 
reverence es-Seyid, (Abd el-Kader) — and if another day I should 
tell him this ! " — " In the Seyid is namus (the sting of anger) more 
than in myself : who has namus more than the Seyid ? eigh, Haj 
Nejm '? wellah, at es-Shem there is no more than the Seyid and 
Mohammed Aly (himself). I have (his mad boast) seven hundred 
guns there ! " — " You struck me ; now tell me wherefore, I have 
not to my knowledge offended you in anything." — " Wellah, 
I had flung thee down from the gallery, but I feared Ullah : and 
there is none who would ever enquire of thy death. Your own 
consul expressly renounced before our Waly (governor of Syria) 
all charge concerning thee, and said, taking his berneta in his 
hand, you were to him nothing more than this old hat." — 
" Such a consul might be called another day to justify himself." 
— " Well, it is true, and this I have understood, Haj Nejm, that 
he passed for a khanzir (an animal not eaten by the Turks) among 
our Pashas at es-Shem, and I make therefore no account of 
him : — also by this time the nejjab has delivered Khalil's letters 
in Damascus. — It is known there now that you are here, and 
your life will be required of us." Haj Nejm said, " Ay, and this 
is one of those, for whose blood is destroyed a city of Islam." 
(Jidda bombarded and Syria under the rod were yet a bitter 
memory in their lives.) " Mark you, I said, Haj Nejm, that 
this man is not very well in his understanding." M. Aly began 
now in half savage manner to make his excuses ; ' Servitor had 
he been of the Dowla these thirty years, he had wounds in his 
body; and M. Aly was a good man, that knew all men.' — 
" Enough, enough between you ! " cries Haj Nejm, who would 
reconcile us ; and M. Aly, half doting-religious and humane 
ruffian, named me already habib, ' a beloved ' ! We drank round 
and parted in the form of friends. — Later I came to know the 



1 66 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

first cause of this trouble, which was that unlucky Kheybary 
elf of Dahir's, whom I had, with an imprudent humanity, led in to 
repose an hour and drink coffee in the kella : once out of my 
hearing, although I had paid his wages at el- Ally, he clamoured 
for a new shirt-cloth from the aga. This incensed the Turkish 
brains of M. Aly, who thought he had received too little from 
me : — more than all had driven him to this excess (he pretended) 
that I had called the wild nomads to be my witnesses. When 
afterwards some Beduins asked him wherefore he had done this : 
' That Khalil, he answered, with a lie, had struck off his red 
bonnet ; — and wellah the Nasrany's grasp had so wrung his deli- 
cate wrists that he could not hold them to heaven in his prayers 
for many a day afterward ; ' also the dastardly villain boasted to 
those unwilling hearers that ' he had plucked KhahTs beard.' 

This storm abated, with no worse hap, they of the kella were 
all minded to favour me ; and on the morrow early, leaving one 
to drive the well- machine, every man, with Haj Nejm, and Mo- 
hammed Aly upon his horse, accompanied the Nasrany among 
the monuments, they having not broken their fasts, until the sun 
was setting ; and in the days after, there went out some of them 
each morning with me. Of Haj Nejm I now bought a tamarisk 
beam, that had been a make-shift well-shaft, fetched from el-Ally : 
the old man hacked notches in my timber for climbing, and 
the ladder-post was borne out between two men's shoulders to 
the beban, and flitted from one to other as the work proceeded. 
I went abroad with large sheets of bibulous paper, water, and 
a painter's brush and sponge ; and they rearing the timber at a 
frontispiece, where I would, I climbed, and laboured standing 
insecurely at the beam head, or upon the pediment, to impress 
the inscription. The moist paper yielded a faithful stamp (in 
which may be seen every grain of sand) of the stony tablet and 
the letters. Haj Nejm would then accompany us to shore 
the beam himself, (that I should not take a fall,) having, he said, 
always a misgiving. In few days I impressed all the inscriptions 
that were not too high in the frontispieces, [v. pi., facing p. 176.] 
We went forward, whilst the former sheets hanged a-drying in their 
title plates, to attempt other. In returning over the wilderness 
it was a new sight to us all, to see the stern sandstone monu- 
ments hewn in an antique rank under the mountain cliff, stand 
thus billeted in the sun with the butterfly panes of white paper ; 
— but I knew that to those light sheets they had rendered, at 
length, their strange old enigma ! The epitaphs are some quite 
undecayed, some are wasted in the long course of the weather. 
Our work fortunately ended, there remained more than a half 
score of the inscription tablets which were too high for me. 




1 ') ,,:i l , i'.iiii!'iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii(iii||.|iiiiiii)i|i|M(|ii!!' 

liiiiiMiiiiiii 




1 68 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Our going abroad was broken in the next days by the happy 
fortune of rain in Arabia. A bluish haze covered the skirts 
of the Harra, the troubled sky thundered ; as the falling drops 
overtook us, the Arabs, hastily folding their matchlocks under 
their large mantles, ran towards the kella. Chill gusts blew 
out under lowering clouds, the showers fell, and it rained still 
at nightfall. The Arabs said then, " The Lord be praised, there 
will be plenty of samn this year." On the morrow it rained yet, 
and from the kella tower we saw the droughty desert stand- 
ing full of plashes ; the seyl of the Hejr plain did not flow for 
all this ; I found there but few pools of the sweet rain-water. 
" — If only, they said now, the Lord shield us from locusts ! " 
which their old musing men foretold would return that year : 
they think the eggs of former years revive in the earth after 
heavy showers. Samn, the riches of the desert, was now after 
so long drought hardly a pint for a real or crown, at el- Ally. 

But what of the sculptured bird in those frontispieces of the 
sumptuous charnel houses ? (See p. 167.) It was an ancient 
opinion of the idolatrous Arabs, that the departing spirit flitted 
from man's brain-pan as a wandering fowl, complaining thence- 
forward in deadly thirst her unavenged wrong ; friends there- 
fore to assuage the friend's soul-bird, poured upon the grave 
their pious libations of wine. The bird is called " a green fowl," 
it is named by others an owl or eagle. The eagle's life is a thou- 
sand years, in Semitic tradition. In Syria I have found Greek 
Christians who established it with that scripture, " he shall renew 
his youth as an eagle." Always the monumental bird is sculp- 
tured as rising to flight, her wings are in part or fully displayed. 

In the table of the pediment of a very few monuments, especi- 
ally in the Kasr el-Bint rocks, is sculptured an efngy (commonly 
wasted) of the human face. ' (See next page.) Standing high 
upon the ladder beam, it fortuned me to light upon one of 
them which only has remained uninjured ; the lower sculptured 
cornices impending, it could not be wholly discerned from the 
ground. I found this head such as a comic mask, flat-nosed, 
and with a thin border of beard about a sun-like visage. This 
sepulchral image is grinning with all his teeth, and shooting 
out the tongue. The hair of his head is drawn out above 
either ear like a long "horn" or hair-lock of the Beduins. 
Seeing this larva, one might murmur again the words of Isaiah, 
" Against whom makest thou a wide mouth, and drawest out the 
tongue ? " I called my companions, who mounted after me ; and 
looking on the old stony mocker, they scoffed again, and came 
down with loud laughter and wondering. 



HABITATIONS OF THE DEAD. 



169 



The Semitic East is a land of sepulchres ; Syria, a limestone 
country, is full of tombs, hewn, it may be said, under every hill 
side. Now they are stables for herdsmen, and open dens of wild 
creatures. " Kings and counsellors of the earth built them deso- 
late places " ; but Isaiah mocked in his time those " habitations 
of the dead." — These are lands of the faith of the resurrection. 
Palmyra, Petra, Hejra, in the ways of the desert countries, were 
all less oases of husbandmen than great caravan stations. In all 




is seen much sumptuousness of sepulchres ; clay buildings served 
for their short lives and squared stones and columns were for 
the life of the State. The care of sepulture, the ambitious mind 
of man's mortality, to lead eternity captive, was beyond measure 
in the religions of antiquity, which were without humility. The 
Medain funeral chambers all together are not, I think, an 
hundred. An hundred monuments of well-faring families in 
several generations betoken no great city. Of such we might 
conjecture an old Arabian population of eight thousand souls ; 
a town such as Aneyza at this day, the metropolis of Nejd. 



iyo 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 



Under the new religion the deceased is wound in a shirt- 
cloth of calico, (it is the same whether he were a prince 
or the poorest person, whether villager or one of the restless 
Beduw,) his corse is laid in the shallow pit of droughty earth, 
and the friends will set him up a head-stone of the blocks 
of the desert. Ezekiel sees the burying in hell of the an- 
cient mighty nations : hell, the grave-hole, is the deep of the 
earth, the dead-kingdom : the graves are disposed (as we see at 
Medain Salih) in the sides of the pit about a funeral bed (which 
is here the floor in the midst). We read like words in Isaiah, 
" Babel shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit." 
To bury in the sides of the pit was a superstitious usage of the 
ancient Arabians, it might be for the dread of the hyena. In 
what manner were the dead laid in the grave at el-Hejr ? We 
have found frankincense or spice-matter, the shreds of winding- 
cloths, and lappets, as of leathern shrouds, in certain monu- 
ments : in the most floors lies only deep sand-drift, the bones are 
not seen in all ; and the chamber floor in a few of them is 
but plain and bare rock. It is not unlikely that they buried 
the dead nearly as did the Jews about these times [v. John 
xix. 40, Luke xvi. 1], with odours, and the corse was swathed 
in one or several kinds of linen (I find three, finer and grosser 
webbed, brown-stained and smelling of the drugs of the em- 
balmers) and sewed in some inner leather painted red, and an 
outer hide, which for the thickness may be goat or else camel- 
leather, whose welts are seamed with leathern thongs and 
smeared with asphalte. I saw no mummy flesh, nor hair. In 
peaceable country the monuments might be one by one explored 
at leisure. I never went thither alone, but I adventured my life. 

In my dealings with Arabs I have commonly despised their 
pusillanimous prudence. When I told Mohammed Aly that those 
kassur chambers were sepulchres, he smiled, though an arrow 
shot through his barbarous Scriptures, and he could forgive me, 
seeing me altogether a natural philosopher in religion. " Yaw ! " 
said he, with a pleasant stare ; and he had seen himself the 
rocks plainly full of tombs in many parts of Syria : my word 
reported seemed afterward to persuade also the Syrian Jurdy 
and Haj officers, though their Mohammedan hearts despised a 
Christian man's unbelief. 

Upon the landmark rock el-Howwara in the plain of Medain 
Salih lies a great treasure (in the opinion of the Moors in the 
kella) sealed in a turret-like stone chamber, in the keeping 
of an afrit (evil genius loci, a word spoken of the spirits of 
wicked men departed, which as flies to the dunghill haunt 
eternally about their places of burial). Fatal, they say, were the 



A MAGICAL ART TO FIND HID TREASURES. 171 

taking up of that treasure, " the kings of the world should strive 
together, the Aarab tribes should destroy one another. In that 
day a man will not spare his friend, nor his brother, the son of 
his father and his mother : " thus Haj Nejm. I have looked down 
upon the Howwara cliff from the Harra, and can affirm that the 
head of it is plain, a black platform of lava ; the sandstone 
precipices all round are a hundred fathoms in height (see p. 82). 
Further Nejm told us how few years past there was come 
hither a certain Moghreby from Medina, somewhat after the pil- 
grimage ; he was on the way to Syria, and had stayed awhile in 
the kella. The wise man studying in his cabalistical book 
found that upon the Howwara lay that wealth indeed ; but, he 
said, he durst not raise it. " I desire nothing for myself, also I 
find written that were those riches taken away, there should 
ensue great calamities." The same Moghreby, who by their 
saying, with all his dark lore, was a gentle soul, being after- 
ward at Maan, was friendly entertained by the Kurdy aga of 
the place, he who had married the only daughter of Mohammed 
Said Pasha : and the wise guest, who would show as much 
courtesy to his host again, found somewhat for him, ere he 
departed, in those old ruins (el-Hammam), which are without 
the village. The guest and host stealing forth by night, the 
fortunate Kurdy rilled his two saddle-bags with money, and all 
was red gold ; but the pleasant philosopher would take nothing 
for himself. — " All this, cried Mohammed Aly, I can confirm, for 
being at that time stationed at Maan, wellah, I saw that gold, 
and I was in the confidence of the aga." 

Marvellous are the fables of the East ; and if the truth be 
in the mouth of many witnesses, it were hard not to believe 
them ; the world is yet full of miracles. In my time there 
were two Christs in Syria ; one of them, a second-sighted 
admirable person of the Persian religion, had been laid by 
the Ottoman government in " little-ease " at Gaza. The other 
was between ignorant block and mystical hypocrite, a religious 
dreamer at large. Born in the Christian religion, this man 
was by turns Jew and Mohammedan ; ' he had God's name, 
he told me in a terrific voice, sculptured between his two 
eye-brows.' This divine handwriting, be it understood, was in 
Arabic ; that is, he had rimples, as a triglyph, or somewhat 

resembling the trace aM — Allah. Herein, he would covertly con- 
vey, among us Christians, was his mystical name, divine ! and he 
was himself Messias of the second appearing. He was born in 
Latdkia, and in this also, through barbarous ignorance of the 
Greek letters, he found a witness of the Scriptures unto himself. 
He prophesied to them with a lofty confidence, that the day was 



1 72 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

toward, when he should ride forth from the Damascus horse- 
market unto his eternal glory ; and all things being fulfilled in 
himself, the children of Adam should return unto their Lord 
God, to be manifested in the whole world. He was a Moslem 
among the Moslemin. I heard their ribalds deride this self- 
godded man upon a time as I walked with him in their cathedra] 
mosque, and he went on saying (especially where we met with 
any simple hareem, near the gates) in an immense murmured 
voice, " How great is Mohammed ! yea, ye people ! he is the 
Apostle of Ullah ! " They mocked him with " Hail, Neby ! " Of 
the Christians no man trusted him. Yet I have heard simple 
women, half in awe of a man of so high pretence, beg of him to 
foresay to them the event of these dangerous times, — " whether 
the Nasara would be massacred ? " And he in mighty tones 
prophesied to them comfortable things ; he said they should 
have no hurt, these troubles should assuage shortly and Christ's 
kingdom be established. Also he could show, unto any faithful 
which resorted to him in certain hours, the testimony of 
miracles ; for with solemn gesture, the divine man and his 
wife prayed over a little water, then he breathed in mystic 
wise, and spread his hands, and behold it was made wine : 
and such had been seen by a simple Christian person of 
my familiar acquaintance. Upon a time finding him in the 
street I bade him wend with me, of his charity, to the house of 
fools, el-Moristan : by his holy power with God, we might heal a 
mad body : he granted. — There entering, when we had passed bars 
and gates, he received from the porter a cup of water in his hand, 
and led me confidently to the poor men in durance. He had 
promised if we found any raging one, with the only name of Ullah, 
to appease him : but as all was still, he approached a poor man 
who sat in a cage, and enquired his name and country and 
condition. The sad prisoner answered to all things well and 
civilly ; and the blatant man of God, when he had cried Ullah ! 
and breathed with an awesomeness upon the water, gave him 
through the bars his bowl, bidding him drink measurably thereof,, 
and if the Lord would, he should come to his health : the un- 
happy man received it very thankfully. " Thou hast seen I 
(said this doer of miracles,) now we may return." After a 
week he sent me his divine word that the dangerous madcap 
had mended, and ' was about to be sent home as a man in his right 
mind ; — and did I not yet believe him ? ' This wonder-worker, 
after walking through all Christian sects and Judaism, had gone 
over to the Mohammedan profession, in that hoping, said his 
Christian neighbours, to come again by his own : and this was, 
after he had put out his little patrimony, at an iniquitous usury, 



A MESSIAH IN SYRIA. 173 

to insolvent Moslems : — they having devoured the Nasrany's 
good, derided him ; and a Christian has little or no hope in the 
Mohammedan judgment seats. The forlorn man had fallen 
between the stools of his natural and adopted religions, and his 
slender living was passed from his own into other shrews' hands ; 
and there was all his grief : the apostate found no charity in 
either. The Christian people's whisper even imputed to him an 
atrocious guilt. In better days a boy had served him, and he 
was known to beat the child more and more. Some while after, 
when the boy was not found, the neighbours said between their 
teeth, " he has murdered the lad and buried him ! " When I 
last saw him the religion-monger was become a sadder and a 
silent man ; the great sot had now a cross coaled upon his cottage 
door, in the Christian quarter. He said then with a hollow 
throat, ' he was but a sinner,' and denied to me, shaking out his 
raiment with an affected horror, that ever such as I alleged had 
been his former pretension. " Nay ah ! and ah nay ! " The sooth- 
sayer would persuade me that " all was but the foolish people's 
saying." I found him poring and half weeping over a written 
book, which he told me was " marvellous wise and healthful to 
the soul, and the copying it had cost him much silver." The 
argument was of God's creatures, the beasts, and showing how 
every beast (after that of the psalm, " Praise the Lord from the 
earth, all beasts, creeping things, and feathered fowl ") yieldeth 
life- worship unto God. He read me aloud his last lesson " Of 
the voices of the living creatures," and coming down to the 
camel, I said " Hold there ! every camel- voice is like a blasphemy : 
it is a very blasphemous beast." Said he : " Thou art mistaken, 
that brutish bellowing in his throat is the camel's making moan 
unto Ullah.— See further it is written here ! — his prayer for 
patience under oppression, inasmuch as he is made a partner in 
man's affliction." Neighbours now told me the most sustenance 
of this sorrowful man, past the lining of his purse, to be of 
herbs, which cooling diet he had large leave to gather for him- 
self in the wild fields. 

As I wandered in Palestine I came to a place where the 
Moslems show a sepulchre of the prophet Jonas. The respect- 
able blind sire who kept the chapel, when I would enter further 
than the ruinous chamber, forbade me ; and to the company 
he related how of late years two rash young men of the 
village had made bold to thrust into the Neby's tomb, " but ah ! 
Sirs, wellah, said he, they came forth blind;" and the poor 
gaffer shook his head piteously again. Here credulous persons, 
having lighted upon a miracle, might have taken half the 
village to witness. Commonly the longer one lives in a fabu- 






174 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 



lous time or country, the weaker will become his judgment. 
Certainly I have heard fables worthy of the Arabs from the lips 
of excellent Europeans too long remaining in the East. How 
often in my dwelling in that hostile world have I felt desolate, 
even in a right endeavour : the testimony of all men's (half- 
rational) understandings making against my lonely reason ; and 
must I not seem to them, in holding another opinion, to be a per- 
verse and unreasonable person ? Many admirable things, unless 
you can misbelieve them all, fall out daily according to their faith, 
and their world is to thy soul as another planet of nature. Their 
religious wizards converse with the jan, the cabalistic discovery 
of hid things is every day confirmed by many faithful witnesses. 
Because they had some fond expectation even of me, a stranger, 
it was reported afterward, at Teyma, that I wrought miracles. 
Certain persons affirmed with oaths that " Khalil had been 
seen by night uplifting stones, wellah of machinal weight, out 
of the great ruined well-pit, and with no more than the touch of 
his fingers ; " and yet at such hours I was sleeping, encamped 
with the Aarab, nearly half a mile distant. 

If I asked any nomad of that great Harra in sight, of the 
Ferrd and the principal valleys, he began commonly, tracing 
with his camel-stick in the sand, or his finger in the powder 
of the kella floor, to show me the course of the wadies. All 
these parts seyl, they told me, into the W. Jizzl ; some said, 
" into the W. el-Hum th ; " and then they said " the Jizzl and 
the Humth are one wady." The Humth valley descends from 
beyond Medina by Henakieh. The Wady Jizzl, receiving the 
rain-streams from both sides of the Harra, goes out below el- 
Ally in the W. el-Humth, which passes westward through the 
Tehama, and issues to the Red Sea betwen Wejh and Yanba. 
The Humth is a great valley, — they compared it with W. er-Rum- 
mah. (See the map, Vol. I.) Later at Kheybar I heard that the 
W. el-Humth begins in Nejd above the Mecca country. These 
great valleys have each a length of nearly ten degrees and as all 
Arabian wadies they are continually waterless. That valley is 
called the Humth for the plenty there growing of the desert bush, 
el-humih, which is good camel-meat, and especially in the Tehama. 

Now came the nejjab : he had left all in quiet at Damas- 
cus. Overtaken by cold weather and fogs in the high Ard 
es-Suwwan, the Sherary told us with oaths he could not see 
his hands in two days space, and he had nearly perished. A 
Welad Aly lad was waiting here to ride on with his post-bags 
to Medina. — Letters were come from Damascus for Mohammed 
Aly, and the lad Mohammed was sent to hear them read at el- 



HUSBANDS AND WIVES. 175 

Ally and bring word again. They thought I could read a post- 
script ; and whilst I studied it by the coffee-lire, said Nejm, " It 
might be a salaam from the hareem." — " Oh when (answered 
Mohammed Aly, turning upon him) do the hareem (whom 
they think to be only good for the house service) send their 
greeting ? or what man sends ever a greeting to the hareem ! " 

In the household life there is a gulf betwixt us and 
the Arabs ; the open loving affection of our spouses-for-life, 
they esteem unmanly. Once Mohammed Aly touched this 
difference in my hearing : — " When I was stationed at Maan 
there arrived a Frenjy with his wife at W. Musa, and their 
accustomed long train of baggage camels and servitors ; so that 
they appear to us persons of princely quality. Their truch- 
man in entering Moses' valley had paid out presents to the 
Howeytat sheykhs and to the village sheykh of el-Eljy. But 
whilst this Frank, leaving his wife to repose at the tents, was 
gone to view the next monuments, another ragged rout of the 
country Beduins ran down from the mountain, and came on 
with club-sticks and wild shouts to the Frenjy's camp ; where 
finding only the dame and none daring to oppose them, they laid 
on her their sun-blackened hands, crying fast flus, flus — money, 
money ! The husband hieing again to the clamour, the hooting 
Beduins, as ever they had sight of him, pulling out their cut- 
lasses, made as though they would carve his wife's neck ; and if 
he stood a moment, to make them signs, their swords were 
already at her throat. He called desperately then to his inter- 
preter to give them anything, all and whatsoever they would. 
So he comes up aghast, to see his lady so long forlorn in the 
midst of those demons, and they meant no more than to eat a 
little of his silver." He added, " ye may see how uxorious 
they are ! " Such for Mohammed Aly was Frankish travelling 
in Syrian countries, — and the contemptible marital affection, 
in (he said) " the not commendable Frankish life." 

The time of the ascending Haj being nigh, the country was 
more than commonly insecure. Fehjy wives were gone upon a 
morning early with camels to fetch in their knot-grass stacked 
at some distance in clefts of the desert mountain. They were 
not come again at the fall of the evening, in which time they 
might have gone and returned twice ; we thought them certainly 
lost and the camels taken by a ghrazzu. The sun was gone down 
when we saw them coming. The women had lingered making 
holiday by the way ; but one of their husbands who had 
passed the last hours in extreme heaviness of his mind, cried 
out, " Wellah, all torments in men's lives be along of the 



176 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

cursed hareem ! " — The weak must bear all burdens, and the 
poor hareem have all the blame, in the nomad life. This was a 
well-faring wretch, Fardus, forged, like all his race, of an old 
world's likeness, and who made half our mirth with his sly gipsy 
humour. As he understood that Nasara were truer men than 
the Moslemin, he came to deposit in my cell-chamber, in presence j 
of the aga, a sack of his beggarly gear, and in which was his 
money. I said I would not receive the trust, unless he gave me , 
up the tale of his silver and would show in which part of the sack 
his wealth lay : he showed us then he had hidden it, eight reals 
gained of the Haj caravan, in the corner-knots at the sack's 
mouth, which the nomads use to tie upon a pebble stone. 
" Mark you, said Mohammed Aly, the deceitful arts of them ! el- 
Aarab mukkarin ! " Also a poor widow of the gate Arabs came 
upon a time as she went to the desert, to deposit with me her 
great cooking-pot, as much worth as her poor dowry ; and in the 
day of the Haj arriving Hasan came to pile half a score of | 
loaded matchlocks in my cell, for the defence of that side of the 
kella, where also some camel loads of the Haj stores were j 
left in my keeping ; so confident were they of truth in the ; 
Nasrany. This honest opinion of theirs, after the first wild ! 
looks of Semitic intolerance, has oftentimes turned to my 
advantage, and my word was accepted without an oath in Arabia, i 

The birket- water mounted almost to a just level, which to 
maintain against the leaking floor, they must still drive half- days. 
One day when I had been abroad alone, coming early home 
I found many Beduins before the kella and the iron gate j 
shut, and tardily admitted, said Hasan, " Gom, Khalil ! these I 
are enemies, and what dost thou to be abroad in such dan- 
gerous times?" They were of Welad Aly, and brought a 
load of clothing stuffs of the Haj stores, which had been cast | 
down from the camel that bore them by Beduins and robbed ; 
in our night march a little after el-Akhdar in the B. Atieh ! 
country. The thieves could not then be known in the darkness ; 
but it was since understood that they were W. Aly tribesmen : 
the sheykhs must therefore procure their restitution, or else the 
worth of the goods would be charged against themselves in their 
next receipt of surra. The lost bales were brought in by a 
younger son of their great sheykh Motlog ; a lad wearing the 
government scarlet mantle, girded with a gunner's belt, and 
therein were a gay pair of old horse-pistols. They counted out 
their delivery in the kella, men's tunics, women's blue kirtles, 
a few mantles, eighty-two pieces ; but all the best were wanting. 
Such losses happen every year, and it is well if there be not some j 
camels cut out in the night marches. In a former year, the 



A NIGHT ALARM IN THE KELLA. 177 

B. Atieh fell upon the Haj convoy, one morning, under the same 
Pasha, and drove off about two hundred camels. Mohammed 
Said, who had passed his life victorious in this kind of running 
warfare, drew in his straggling soldiery whilst the Haj stood 
still : the field-pieces having been quickly mounted, he let a 
few shells fly over their heads, and sent his troopers to out- 
ride them. The Beduw then left their booty and held off ; all 
the camels were brought in again and the caravan set forward, 
— and great is the name of M. Said Pasha in the desert. The 
year of my leaving Arabia, Beduw set upon the descending 
pilgrimage betwixt the Harameyn, and killed (it is reported) 
a score of them, and took much booty ; the Aarab crying out 
that this seizing for themselves was forced upon them, foras 
much as there had not been paid them their just surra. And 
little unlikely, there had been juggling in the covetous old 
Kurdy's disbursing of the government piastres, and that of some 
great ones' embezzling pence many poor and unarmed pilgrims 
came by their deaths. The great Stambul officer of the year 
was sore affrighted, so that he durst return no more by the 
land-way, where he must see those sun-blackened faces again of 
the wild Beduw, but got him home upon shipboard. 

A shouting without in the night made us start from slum- 
bering on the cold stones ; the nomad dogs barked with all 
their throats, the gate Arabs from the booths cried to those in 
the kella ' a ghrazzu was upon them ! ' Our cut-throats ran now 
in the feeble moonlight, with their long matchlocks, upon the 
kella terrace. The cowardly young Mohammed, in this war- 
like rumour, when he had digged in the smouldering coffee- 
hearth a pan of coals, whereat to light their gun-matches, came 
braving after. The sickly M. Aly had cast on his military cloak, 
and standing in the door of his chamber, with a Turkish yell or 
rather the voice of some savage beast, gave the words of com- 
mand, "Bun up, lads, and shoot at them, shoot! " himself came 
groping out on the gallery, and after them he stumbled with my 
carbine to the tower-head. Presently they heard it called from 
the tents that all was nothing, — a false alarm ; and Hasan ran 
down again, to sleep, with his gaggling Moorish laughter. Haj 
Nejm descended groaning, the valiant old man misliking this 
trouble in v the night time ; their captain shouting terribly and 
all of them loudly attesting Ullah in their witless wild manner. 

The W. Aly lad that had ridden post to Medina now re- 
turned to us, and his brother being here to meet him, this 
lovely pair would go a cattle-lifting. They having but a match- 
lock and an old blunt pike between them, went to scour the 

D.T. 12 



178 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

country as foot-robbers, habalis, and the elves desired me to 
be in their company. When I denied them in mocking, they 
were the more earnest to persuade me. ' Of what,' they asked, 
* could I be afraid, seeing I had not feared to come hither ; 
and having no riding beast, I might, going along with them, very 
well light upon some thelul.' They gaped for wonder when the 
aga told them, soberly laughing, ' the Nasrany was no robber, 
nor one who would so much as receive any beast at a gift that 
had been taken in a foray. You see, said he, that the Nasara 
are better than ye Beduins, for they can distinguish betwixt 
the lawful and unlawful.' — " How it may be unlawful to rob 
those that rob us we cannot tell, answered the young men ; such 
at least is the custom of the Beduw." They took with them only 
a bundle of dates, and a water-skin upon their shoulders, and 
departed. I could imagine them to bear, in regard of me, a 
heathenish mind ; to take the kafir's life, whilst I slept, had been 
a good work in Beduin eyes ; it were to rid the country of a foreign 
danger, and a poor spoil of clothing should be theirs, which is much 
to those miserable inhabitants of the khala. Their stripping 
the slain is like that (honourable) spoiling of armour in the 
old world's enmities : they had been reckoned featy fellows so 
they might have cut me off. One of these weleds came to my 
chamber, saying with billahs he would give me notice of all 
this country : then having a most elvish invention, he told me 
over many ridiculous names of villages, and how in certain of 
them, the people went clothed in silk, amongst them he placed 
the Wady Kheyt-beyt, " valley of nullity." The like I have never 
heard from Beduin body besides ; the nomads, so they be not 
of the stuff of habalis, are not wont to falsify this argument. , 
Having diligently written down the invention of his lips, I went i 
to read it in the coffee-chamber ; and the elder nomads present I 
solemnly reproved the young man's peevish levity, saying, i 
" Fearest not thou Ullah ! " These were W. Aly spirits, a very 
slippery tribe, which continually set all the world by the ears. 

It was time that my task should be done, and it was well | 
nigh ended. The Haj were already marching upward from the I 
Harameyn, and the Jurdy descending from Syria, to meet them, L 
here, at the merkez of Medain. And now the friendly nomads 
4rew hither from their diras to be dealers in the Haj market. I 
Hostile Beduins hovered upon the borders to waylay them, \\ 
and our alarms were in these days continual. As fresh traces I 
of a foray of sixteen, habalis, had been seen in the plain, not | 
a mile from the kella, a messenger was sent up in haste to j 
the kella shepherd Doolan, and his daughter, keeping those few ! 






FEMININE CONTENTION. 179 



sheep and goats of the garrison in the mountains. He returned 
the next evening, and the poor man came to my chamber, 
bringing me a present of fresh sorrel, now newly springing 
after the late showers ; a herb pleasant to these date-eaters 
for its grateful sourness. Their mountain lodging was that 
cold cavern where in our hunting we had rested out the night. 
There they milked their goats upon sorrel, which milk-meat and 
wild salads had been all their sustenance ; but I have learned by 
experience that it may well suffice in the desert. Seeing the 
skin of my face broken, he enquired quickly how I came by 
the hurt. When I answered " That ogre ! " showing him with 
my finger the door of Mohammed Aly's chamber ; said the son 
of Antar between his teeth : " Akhs ! the Lord do so unto him, 
the tyrant that is yonder man ; the Lord cut him off ! " Doolan 
himself and the other gate Arabs dwelt here under the savage 
tyranny of the Moghrebies, in daily awe of their own lives : 
besides, they lived ever in little quietness themselves, as 
wretches that had oft-days nothing left to put under their 
teeth, and men can only live, they think, by devouring one 
another. One day I heard a strife among the women ; soon 
angry, they filled the air with loud clamouring, every one re- 
viled her neighbour. Their husbands rated them, and cried 
I Peace ! " the askars shouted (from the walls of the kella), 
I Hush Hareem the Lord curse you ! " The young askar-lad 
Mohammed sallied forth with a stick and flew bravely upon 
them, and one after another he drubbed them soundly ; the 
men of the tents looking on, and so it stilled their tongues none 
caring to see his wife corrected. 

When I came gipsying again to el-Hejr, after midsummer, 
with the Fukara Arabs, eth-Therryeh, elder son of the sheykh, 
always of friendly humour towards me, learning here of Mo- 
hammed Aly's outrage, enquired of me in his father's tent 
* what thought I of the person.' I answered immediately, in 
the booths of the freeborn, " He is a cursed one or else a mad- 
man ; " eth-Therryeh assented, and the prudent sheykh his father 
consented with a nod. Zeyd said another while, " Kubbak (he 
cast thee off) like a sucked lemon peel and deceived me ; very 
God confound Mohammed Aly ! " M. Aly, whether repenting 
of his former aggression, which I might visit upon him at 
Damascus, or out of good will towards me, commended me now 
with a zeal, to all nomads who touched at the kella, and later 
to the servants of Ibn Kashid that arrived from Hayil and 
Teyma, and warmly at length to the returning Pasha himself. 
So Mohammed Aly, disposing all these to favour me, furthered 
the beginning of rav travels in Arabia. 

12—2 



APPENDIX. 



The Nabatean Inscriptions upon the Monuments dis- 
covered by Mr. Doughty at Medain Salih : translated 
by M. Ernest Renan (Membre de VInstitut). 

[From the vol. published by the Acadtmie des Inscriptions et Belles -Lettres r 
" Documents Epigraphiques recueillis dans le nord de l'Arabie par M. Charles 
Doughty."] 

* * * 

.... Quatre ou cinq groupes de f aits, qui se rattachaient mal les 
ans aux autres, se trouvent ainsi reunis et expliques. La paleo- 
graphie semitique en tirera les plus grandes lumieres. Nos vingt- 
deux textes nabateens, en effet, s'etagent, avec des dates precises, 
dans un espace d'environ quatre- vingts ans. On peut done suivre la 
marche de l'ecriture arameenne pendant pres d'un siecle, et la voir, 
presque d'annee en annee, prendre un caractere de plus en plus cursif. 
L'ecriture de nos monuments est comme le point central d'oii Ton 
decouvre le mieux l'amnite du vieil arameen, du caractere carre des- 
Juifs, du palmyrenien, du sinaitique, de l'estranghelo, du coufique, 
du neskhi. 

L'histoire de l'ecriture dans l'ancienne Arabie se trouve de la 
sorte eclairee en presque toutes ses parties. C'est la un progres 
considerable, si Ton songe que, il y a soixante-quinze ans, l'illustre 
Silvestre de Sacy consacrait un de ses plus savants memoires a 
prouver qu'on n'ecrivait pas en Arabie avant Mahomet 

Ernest Renan. 



No 1. [v. pi. facing p. 176.] 

De Fan 41 de J.-C. 

Ceci est le mesgeda qu'a fait elever Serouh, fils de Touca, a Aera 
de Bosra, grand dieu. Dans le mois de nisan de l'an 1 du roi 
Malchus. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTERS IV. V. VI. 181 

No. 2. [v. pi. facing p. 176.] 

De Tan 2 de J -C. 

C'est ici le caveau que firent faire Camcam, fils de Touallat, fils 
de Taharam, et Coleibat, sa fille, pour eux, pour leurs enfants et 
leurs descendants, au mois de tebeth de l'annee neuvieme de Hartat, 
roi des Nabateens, aimant son peuple. Que Dusares et Martaba et 
Allat . . . . , et Menat et Ke'is maudissent celui qui vendrait ce 
caveau, ou l'acheterait, ou le mettrait en gage, ou le donnerait, ou en 
tirerait les corps, ou celui qui y enterrerait d'autres que Camcam et 
sa fille et leurs descendants. Et celui qui ne se conformerait pas a 
ce qui est ici ecrit, qu'il en soit justiciable devant Dusares et Hobal 
et Menat, gardiens de ce lieu, et qu'il paye une amende de mille 
retain. . . ., a l'exception de celui qui produirait un ecrit de Camcam 
ou de Coleibat, sa fille, ainsi concu : " Qu'un tel soit admis dans ce 
caveau." 

Wahbelahi, fils de Abdobodat, a fait. 

No. 3. 

De l'an 40 de J.-C. 

Ceci est le caveau qu'a fait faire Mati, le stratege, fils d'Eu- 
phronius, l'eparque, pour lui-meme et pour ses enfants, et pour Vaal, 
sa femme, et pour ses fils, dans le mois de nisan de l'annee quarante- 
huitieme de Hartat, roi des Nabateens, aimant son peuple. Que 
personne n'ose ni vendre, ni mettre en gage, ni louer ce caveau-ci. 

Wahbelahi, fils de Abdobodat, a fait. A perpetuite. 

No. 4. 

Date illisible, vers 25 apres J.-C. 

Ce caveau a ete fait construire par Seli, fils de Riswa, pour lui 
et pour ses fils et pour ses descendants en ligne legitime. Que 
ce caveau ne soit point vendu, qu'il ne soit point mis en gage, et 
quiconque fera autrement que ce qui est marque ici, il sera redevable 
au dieu Dusares, notre Seigneur, de mille selain . . . Dans le mois de 

nisan de l'annee de Hartat, roi des Nabateens, aimant son 

peuple. Aftah le tailleur de pierre a fait. 

No. 5. 

Date illisible, au moins pour le premier chirTre, peut-etre de l'an 
16 apres J.-C. 

Ce caveau a ete fait construire par Teimelahi, fils de Hamlat, 
pour lui-meme, et il a donne ce caveau a Ammah, sa femme, fille de 



1 82 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Golhom. En vertu de Facte de donation qui est dans sa main, elle 
peut en faire ce qu'elle voudra. En l'annee 3 de Hartat, roi des 
Nabateens, aimant son peuple. 

No. 6. 
Date en partie illisible ; de l'an 3, 13, 23 ou 33 de J.-C. 

Ceci est le caveau que et a leurs 

descendants et a quiconque viendra tout 

homme qui et quiconque le 

mettra en gage Et quiconque f era 

autrement que ce qui est ecrit, aura sur lui le double de la valeur de 
tout ce lieu-ci, et la malediction de Dusares et de Menat. Dans le 
mois de nisan de l'an . . . . de Hartat, roi des Nabateens, aimant son 

peuple. Et quiconque dans ce caveau ou changera quelque 

chose a ce qui est ecrit, il aura a payer a Dusares mille selain .... 

Aftah [le tailleur de pierre a fait]. 

No. 7. 

De l'an 3 avant J.-C. 

C'est ici le caveau que fit Khaled, fils de Xanten, pour lui et pour 
Said, son fils, et pour les freres quels qu'ils soient de ce dernier, 
enfants males qui naitraient a Khaled, et pour leurs fils et leurs 
descendants, par descendance legitime, a perpetuite. Et que soient 

enterres dans ce caveau les enfants de Said Soleimat, fille 

de Khaled tout homme, hors Said et ses freres 

males, et leurs enfants et leurs descendants, qui vendra ce caveau et 

en ecrira une donation ou a n'importe qui, excepte celui 

qui aurait un ecrit en forme dans sa main, 

Celui qui ferait autrement que ceci devra au dieu Dusares, notre 

Seigneur, une amende de cinquante selain d'argent notre 

Seigneur Keis. Dans le mois de nisan de la quatrieme annee 

de Hartat, roi des Nabateens, aimant son peuple. Douma et Abdo- 
bodat, sculpteurs. 

No. 8. 

Date illisible ; vers l'epoque meme de notre ere. 

Ceci est le caveau que firent Anam, fils de Gozeiat, et Arsaces, 

fils de Tateim le stratege et Calba, son frere. A Anamou 

appartiendra le tiers de ce caveau et sepulcre, et a Arsaces les deux 
autres tiers de ce caveau et sepulcre, et la moitie des niches du cote 
est et les loculi [qui y sont]. A Anemou appartiendra la moitie des 
niches du cote sud, et les loculi qui y sont. (Ces loculi appartien- 
dront) a eux et a leurs enfants en ligne legitime. Dans le mois de 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTERS IV. V. VI. 183 

tebeth de l'annee de Hartat, roi des Nabateens, aimant son 

peuple. Aftah, le tailleur de pierre, a fait. 

No. 9. 

A Pinterieur d'un caveau ; de Fan 16 de J.-C. 

Ce loculus a ete fait par Tousouh, fils de , pour lui, 

de son vivant, et pour ses filles. Et quiconque le ou le 

tirera hors de la fosse, qu'il paye a notre Seigneur 

Hartat, roi des Nabateens, ami de son peuple, mille selain ....', et au 

dieu Dusares, seigneur de tous les dieux. Celui qui 

la fosse la malediction de Dusares et de tous les 

dieux. . . .Dans le mois de de l'annee 23 de Hartat, roi 

des Nabateens, ami de son peuple. 

No. 10. 
De Fan 77 apres J.-C. 

Ceci est le caveau de Hoinat, Me d'Abdobodat, pour elle, pour 
son fils et ses descendants, et pour ceux qui produiront en leur main, 
de la main de Hoinat, un ecrit en cette forme : " Qu'un tel soit en- 
terre en tel caveau." 

Ce caveau a appartenu a Abdobodat, 

a Hoinat ou Abdobodat, fils de Malikat, 

soit Abdobodat, soit Hoinat, soit tous ceux qui ce 

caveau l'ecrit que voici : " Qu'il soit enterre dans ce caveau, 

a cote d'Abdobodat." Que personne n'ose vendre ce caveau, ni le 

mettre en gage, ni dans ce caveau. Et quiconque fera 

autrement, qu'il doive a Dusares et a Menat mille selain d'argent, et 
autant a notre Seigneur Dabel, roi des Nabateens. Dans le mois 
d'iyyar de l'annee deuxieme de Dabel, roi des Nabateens. Dans le 
mois d'iyyar de l'annee deuxieme de Dabel, roi des Nabateens. 

No. 11. 

De l'an 61 de J.-C. 

Ceci est le caveau qu'a fait construire Hoinat, fille de Wahb, pour 
elle-meme, et pour ses enfants et ses descendants, a perpetuite. Et 

que personne n'ose le vendre, ou le mettre en gage ou ecrire , 

dans ce caveau-ci, et quiconque fera autrement que ceci, que sa part 

En l'annee vingt et unieme du roi Malchus, roi des 

Nabateens. 

No. 12. 

Date illisible, anterieure a l'an 40 de notre ere. 

Ce caveau a ete fait par Maenat et Higr, fils de Amierah, fils de 
Wahb, pour eux et leurs enfants et leurs descendants, 



184 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

]y[aenat une part de ce caveau-ci dans le lieu de 

Higr une part Maenat ...... il devra au dieu Dusares 

mille selain d'argent mille selain 

la malediction de Dusares. Dans le mois de tisri de l'annee 

de Hartat, .roi des Nabateens, aimant son peuple. 

No. 13. 

De l'an 6 de J.-C. 

Cette fosse sa fille 

to us ceux qui y seront enterres, 



dans toutes les fosses qui sont dans ce caveau autres que 
autre que cette f osse-ci 



il devra a Dusares cent selain et a notre Seigneur le roi Hartat 

tout autant. Dans le mois de thebet de l'annee 13 de Hartat, roi 
des Nabateens, aimant son peuple. 

No. 14. 

De l'an 40 de J.-C. 

C'est ici le caveau de Sabou, fils de Moqimou, et de Meikat, son 

fils, leurs enf ants et leurs descendants legitimes, et de quiconque 

apportera dans sa main, de la part de Sabou et de Meikat, un ecrit 

qu'il y soit enterre, enterre 

Sabou En l'annee quarante-huitieme de Hartat, roi des 

Nabateens, aimant son peuple. 

No. 15. 

An 49 de J.-C. 

C'est ici le caveau de Banou, fils de Said, pour lui-meme et ses 
cnfants et ses descendants et ses asdaq. Et que personne n'ait le 
droit de vendre ou de louer ce caveau. A perpetuite. En l'annee 
neuvieme du roi Malchus, roi des Nabateens. Hono [fils de] Obeidat, 
sculpteur. 

No. 16. 

Date illisible, entre 40 et 75 apres J.-C. 

Caveau destine a Abda, a Aliel, a Gero, fils de Aut, et a Ahadilou, 
leur mere, fille de Hamin, et a quiconque produira en sa main un 
ecrit ainsi concu : " Qu'il soit enterre dans mon tombeau." A eux 
et a leurs descendants. En l'annee neuvieme de Malchus. 

No. 17. 

Non datee 

Ceci est le loculus qu'a fait Tahged pour Mesalmana, son fr&re, et 
pour Mahmit, sa fille. Qu'on n'ouvre pas sur eux durant l'eternite. 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTERS IV. V. VI. 185 

No. 18. 

De l'an 17 apres J.-C. 

Ceci est le caveau et tombeau que fit construire Maenat, fils 
d'Anban, pour lui-meme et ses fils et ses filles et leurs enfants. En 
1'annee vingt-quatrieme de Hartat, roi des Nabateens, aimant son 
peuple. 

No. 19. 

De l'an 79 apres J.-C. 

Ceci est le caveau d'Amlat, fils de Meleikat, pour lui et pour ses 
enfants apres lui. En 1'annee quatrieme de Dabel, roi des Nabateens. 

No. 20. 

Date illisible. 

C'est ici le caveau de Higr, fils de et de ilat, pour 

oux-memes et pour leurs enfants et leurs descendants 

En 1'annee 

No. 21. 

Non datee. 

Ce caveau est pour Sakinat, fils de Tamrat et ses fils et ses 

filles et leurs enfants. 

No. 22. 
Pour Hail, fils de Douna, (et) ses descendants. 



II est remarquable que dans cette liste on ne trouve aiicun nom 
grec bien caracterise. La civilisation nabateenne avait cependant ete 
penetree par la civilisation grecque, comme le prouvent certains noms 
propres, des mots tels que aTpaTrjyos, €7rapx°s e * P ms encore le style 
des monuments. 

Le caractere des inscriptions de Medain-Salih temoigne d'un etat 
social oil Ton ecrivait beaucoup et ou les scribes se livraient a de 
grands caprices de calligraphie, ainsi que cela eut lieu plus tard pour 
1'ecriture coufique. e. r. 



1 86 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Medain Salih. — Note par M. Philippe Berger, Sous-Bibliothecaire 
de VInstitut. [L'Arabie avant Mahomet d'apres les Inscrip- 
tions : Conference faite a, la Sorbonne, Mars 1885.] — Voici toute une 
vallee pleine de sepultures de famille : car chacune de ces constructions 
n'est pas une sepulture particuliere ; ce sont de veritables caveaux 
de famille, oil les ayants droit sont specifies et qui sont entoures de 
toutes les formalites et de toutes les garanties que nous donnons a 
nos actes omciels. 

Mais alors oil etaient les maisons ? — Ce probleme, qui nous embar- 
rasse, a dti derouter les Arabes du temps de Mahomet. On concoit 
qu'en presence de ces monuments dont ils ne comprenaient plus la 
signification, ils se soient dit : ce sont les demeures des anciens habi- 
tants du pays, d'impies, de geants : les deux choses se touchent ; et 
que, penetrant dans l'interieur et voyant des cadavres, ils les aient 
pris pour les ossements des infideles, frappes par le ciel dans leurs 
demeures. Ils ont du etre confirmes dans cette opinion par l'aspect 
de ces monuments. Les creneaux qui les surmontent et qui sont un 
des motifs habituels de l'architecture assyrienne, leur donnent un 
faux air de fortifications. 

Un autre fait qui ressort clairement de ces legendes, c'est qu'a 
l'epoque de Mahomet on ne comprenait plus ces inscriptions, dont on 
etait separe par cinq cents ans a, peine, et cela nous montre combien 
Vhorizon des Arabes etait borne du cote de ses origines. Qui sait 
pourtant s'ils n'en ont pas eu encore un vague sentiment, au moins 
par tradition. Ces inscriptions, qui presentent un singulier melange 
d'arameen et d'arabe, commencent par un mot qui n'est pas arameen, 
qui est arabe : Dena Kafrd " Ceci est le tombeau." Or le meme mot 
signifie en arabe tombeau et impie. Qui sait si, a une epoque deja 
eloignee de la dynastie nabateenne, quand le souvenir de la langue 
arameenne commencait a se perdre, la confusion ne s'est pas faite 
entre les deux mots, et si, en repetant machinalement cette formule,. 
les Arabes ne se sont pas dit : Voila les mecreants ecrases par le ciel 
dans leurs demeures. 

II est un point sur lequel ils ne s'etaient pas trompes : c'est que 
ces anciens habitants du pays etaient bien des mecreants et des ido- 
latres. A l'une des entrees de la vallee de Medain-Saleh se trouve 
une gorge, taillee a pic, comme elles le sont toutes dans cette region. 
D'un des cotes on voit les restes d'une salle qui est creusee dans le 
roc ; seulement, all lieu d'etre fermee par devant, elle est ouverte sur 
toute la largeur de la facade. Elle ne presente pas de niches : quel- 
ques figures, grossierement dessinees au trait sur les murs ; rien de 
plus. C'est la seule construction qui n'ait pas de caractere funeraire* 
On l'appelle le Divan. Sur la paroi opposee de la gorge, au meme 
niveau et dominant le precipice, on decouvre toute une serie de niches 
dans lesquelles se trouvent des pierres dressees, tant6t isolees, tantot 
reunies par groupes de deux ou de trois. [See above pp. 120, 122.] 

La vue de ces petits monuments, dessines avec soin par M. 
Doughty, a ete pour nous une veritable revelation. Nous avions 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTERS IV. V. VI. 187 

deja rencontre des monuments analogues a l'autre extremite du 
monde semitique. II y a trois ans, on n'en connaissait qu'un ex- 
emple : un bas-relief, trouve en Sicile, et qui representait un homme 
en adoration devant une petite triade de pierre. Ce monument isole 
etait inexplicable ; mais il avait frappe l'attention de M. Renan, 
quand, quelque temps apres (une decouverte ne marche jamais seule),. 
M. l'abbe Trihidez en rapporta plusieurs du meme genre qui venaient 
d'Hadrumete, en Tunisie. Ces pierres, accouplees trois par trois, 
etaient des representations divines, de veritables triades, il n'y avait 
pas de doute a avoir. S'il en restart encore, ils sont leves par les 
decouvertes de M. Doughty. Voila les dieux qu'allaient adorer les 
habitants de Meda'in-Saleh. Une inscription placee au-dessus d'une 
de ces niches le dit expressement : 

" Ceci est le mesgeda qu'a fait elever Serouh, fils de Touca, a 
Aouda (ou Aera) de Bostra, grand dieu. Dans le mois de Nisan de 
Tan 1 du roi Malchus." [No. 5 : see above p. 121.] 

Une autre niche porte une inscription analogue. Le mesgeda, 
c'est-a-dire la mosquee, n'est done pas la salle situee de l'autre cote 
du ravin, mais la niche avec la pierre qui est dedans. Voila le Beth- 
El devant lequel les Nabateens allaient se prosterner ; cette pierre 
n'est autre que le dieu Aouda. 

* * * 

On se demande ou est, au milieu de tout cela, l'Arabe des 
Coreischites et de Mahomet ? II nous apparait comme un dialecte 
excessivement restreint, comme la langue d'une toute petite tribu, 
qui, par suite de circonstances, tres locales, est arrivee a un degre 
de perfection extraordinaire. C'est a 1'islamisme qu'elle a du toute 
sa fortune. 

L'islamisme de meme a impose sa langue avec sa religion a toute 
l'Arabie, et de la il s'est repandu de proche en proche, sur l'Afrique 
et sur l'Asie, creant, partout ou il s'etablit, une puissance qui penetre 
tout, mais qui ferme la porte a tout ce qui n'est pas elle. Nulle part 
l'unite n'a ete realisee d'une fa9on aussi absolue. De la viennent les 
obstacles toujours renaissants que Ton trouve a penetrer dans ces con- 
trees fanatiques et desertes, obstacles si grands qu'on hesite a desirer 
que d'autres cherchent a les surmonter : le prix en est trop cher. 
Ils le seront pourtant, car il est une autre puissance que rien 
n'arrete, c'est la force interieure qui pousse V homme a la recherche de 
la verite. 



The Bakhi}k, or Drugs of the Embalmers, Medain Salih. — 
Note by Prof. G. D. Liveing. — A sample of gum resin which Mr. 
Doughty submitted to me for examination was subjected succes- 
sively to the action of benzene, ether, alcohol and water, and the 
result found was that 



1 88 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A, 

235 per cent, of the substance was soluble in benzene, 
5*45 „ „ „ in ether, 

12*25 „ „ „ in alcohol, 

27*36 „ „ „ in water. 

There remained a considerable amount of Tresidue after the ex- 
traction by these menstrua. This consisted partly of sand with 
some fibres of wood and other such substances. When burnt there 
was altogether an amount of ash equal to 38-18 per cent, of the 
whole sample. G. d. l. 

The Shroud Clouts, Leathern Shreds, &c. — Note by Prof. A. 
Macalister. — The pieces of cloth from the Nabatean tombs of Medain 
Salih are quite indistinguishable from the linen which was used in 
Egypt for enwrapping mummies. The thicker leather is perhaps 
•camel-hide. The resinous matter [bahhur] is of the same nature 
as that so often found in Egyptian mummies. 



Thamud : Hejra in Ptolemy is a town of Thamud ; yet Medain 
Salih we understand by the epitaphs to have been of the Nabateans ! 
M. Salih is Hijr (Hejr) :— But what is Hijr ? El-Hejr, in the 
tradition of the country Beduins and the Alowna, is all that valley 
plain and valley ground (v. map in Doc. Epigr., pi. xxx.) lying 
between the Mezham and el- Ally (el-' Ola), and as far as Bir el- 
Grhrannem. Now el-Khreyby (v. p. 158) is likewise el-Hejr : — 
the Khreyby we have seen is Himyaric or of the people from the 
south, M. Salih is of the northern civil world. We might thus 
conjecture that el-Khreyby is Hejra of Thamud, and that Medain 
Salih, 10 miles to the N., is the Nabatean Hejra. 

The name of Thamud is found as late as the 5th century, 
when certain Thamudite horsemen were numbered in the Koman 
army. (Die Alte Geogr. Arabiens p. 28.) The earliest historical 
notice which we have of the tribe of Thamud has been read in the 
Assyrian Monuments " in the list of tribes subdued by Sargon in one 
of his expeditions into Arabia in about b.c. 715. The other tribes 
mentioned in this passage are the Ibadid, Marsiman, Hayapa, the 
country being named The Kemote Bari (probably bariyeh [Arabic], 
the Desert)." — Letter from Sir Henry C. Rawlinson. 



The Money of Ancient Arabia. — Note by Mr. Barclay V. Head, 
British Museum. — The coins of Arabia before Mohammedan times 



APPENDIX TO CHAPTERS IV. V. VI. 189 

may be divided into three^great classes : (i) The money of Yemen 
or the so-called Himyaritic coins ; (ii) The money of the Nabathaean 
kings ; (iii) The coins of the various Arabian cities under the Koman 
empire. 

(i) The coins of the Sabaeans and Homeritae (Himyarites) be- 
gin in the 4th or 3rd century B.C. and consist of imitations of the 
well-known Athenian tetradrachms and drachms. Most of these 
imitations come to us from Southern Arabia, and bear in addition to 
the Athenian types [the head of Pallas and the owl], Himyarite 
letters or inscriptions. In the 2nd cent. B.C. Alexander the Great's 
tetradrachms were also copied in South Arabia. In the second half 
of the first century B.C. the Athenian tetradrachms of the new style, 
with the owl seated on an amphora, served as models for the coins 
of the Sabaean kings. Of this class both gold and silver coins, the 
latter in large quantities, have been discovered at Sana. They bear 
on the obverse the head of a native king (afterwards superseded by a 
copy of the head of Augustus), and on the reverse the Athenian owl 
seated on an amphora, and inscriptions in a character which has not 
yet been read, accompanied by letters or monograms in the ordinary 
Himyaritic character. The copper coins [of which specimens are 
here engraved, p. 113] are contemporary with the silver above de- 
scribed. They are very rude (hardly recognisable) imitations of the 
Athenian silver money, and they were probably the copper currency 
of northern as well as Southern Arabia, indeed they come to us 
chiefly from the northern districts. During the first century a.d. the 
only money of Yemen was a small silver currency with inscriptions 
in the Himyarite character. 

(ii) The money of the Nabathaean kings in Northern Arabia 
begins with Malchus I circ. B.C. 145 and ends with Malchus III 
circ. a.d. 67. 

(iii) About the time of Hadrian, the Nabathaean currency was 
superseded by the local money of the Roman emperors struck at 
Bostra, Petra, Adraa, and other towns. These come to an end with 
the reign of Gallienus a.d. 268 or thereabouts. b. v. h. 



CHAPTER VII. 

RETURN OF THE HAJ. 



The last inscription. Whilst M. Aly with men of the garrison goes down to el- 
Ally, our flock is taken by robbers. Alleluia. "Hap" in Mohammedan mouths. The 
robbers' supper. Haj Nejm's valour. Nejm and the Arabian Prince Ibn Rashid. 
The Emir's oratory. The Emir had shed blood of his next kinsfolk. Devout mis- 
livers. Riddling at the coffee fire. The robbers^ tribe guessed. W. Aly wavering : 
alarms. New guests of the kella. Ibn Rashid's gift-mare. The Jurdy arrive. 
Words of their chief. Ally fruit -sellers. Beduins would pilfer the camp. 
Mihsan the Bountiful. The soldiery shooting at the Beduins. Mohammed 
il Father-of-teeth." A Jeheyna Beduwy arrested. Ibn Rashid's messengers. Abd 
el-Aziz. Arabic cheer. M. Aly's saws to the Teydmend. The Nejders, men 
of prayers. Cannon shot in the night-watches. The bitter night hours for the 
half-clad people abroad. Small-pox in the ascending Haj. Locusts gathered for 
meat. Tolerance of the midtitude ; the Nasrdny amongst them. Of his adven- 
turing further into Arabia. An Ageyly of East Nejd. The Pilgrim caravans 
are as corrupt torrents in the land of Arabia. The Haj arriving. The 
camp and market. The Persian mukowwem accused at Medina. The watering. 
A Beduin of Murra. M. Aly had been charged by the Pasha and the Sir-Amin 
for the Nasrdny. The Pasha and officers dissuaded Zeyd. Algerian derwishes . 
Nejd mares. Departure with the Haj from Meddin Sdlih. Beduin vaunting. Few 
slaves from the African Continent brought up in the Haj. Beduins stop their 
nostrils. A gentle derwish. Tidings of War. Saying of a Turkish officer. The 
Haj menzil. The military bone-setter. Giant derwish of the Meddn. A meteor. 
Ageylies. The remove. Meeting with M. Said Pasha. Leave the Haj Caravan 
and enter the Beduin deserts. Zeyd's words to the stranger. 

Footsteps of another ghrazzu of seven had been seen in 
the plain. In these days M. Aly would have me no more 
adventure out of sight from the kella : he forbad the gate 
Arabs to accompany me, ferociously threatening, Wellah, that 
the lives of them should be for mine : which he said in few 
days would be required of himself by Mohammed Said Pasha. 

There remained a single frontispiece crag, one of the last 
outlying monuments, which (since one might climb to the 
inscription without the ladder-beam) had been left hitherto. I 
had with difficulty M. Aly's licence to make a last excursion 
thither with a sure and sheykhly poor man of the Fejir, 
Mohammed ed-Deybis, a near kinsman of Zeyd's. My com- 



THE LAST EPITAPH, 



191 



panion's eyes watched all round earnestly as we went, for said he 
I must answer for thee, and I am in dread of these ghrazzus ! " 




Frontispiece. 




When the paper prints were long a-drying, for this sepulchre 
looks to the north, I had leisure to visit the charnel within : — 
and the monument alone were a sufficient example of all that 
may be seen at Medain Salih ! 



192 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A 



Without is a single inscription tablet, which was engraved 
already when all the lower hewn architecture was yet to begin. 




The funeral chamber is fully perfected within as a long used 
burying place : here are loculi, sepulchral cells and sunken 
sepulchres, and an inner sepulchral chamber ; but the fronti- 



THE KELLA FLOCK IS TAKEN. 



193 



spiece was only half ended in their time and has remained aband- 
oned. Was this the eternal dwelling of some honest sheykhly 
family, but not abounding in the world ? [We may read now 
the Epitaph (no. 4) ; and there appears in it a certain moderation 
nearly without their formal and superstitious comminations.] 

Mohammed Aly would visit el-Ally before the caravan, 
to purchase helw dates for the Pasha and for the great Haj 
officers. Because the last year he had been assailed in the 
boghraz he would now ride strong and led every man of the 
askars away with him ; only Haj Nejm remained with me in the 
kella. When they were gone I adventured to the monuments, 
but in returning betimes there surprised me Aarab voices 
among the rocks. Two Beduins came ambling upon a thelul 
from under Ethlib, and now they hailed me " ya weled, lad ho ! " 
Not knowing them, whether friends or foemen, I made haste, 
covered by the Maiden and Borj rocks, to be at home, and 
when they overtook me it was in the open, within sight of the 
kella. Our greetings were in this form : " Thou art who ? " — 
" And what be ye ? and whence come ye? " Haj Nejm left alone, 
the gate was sparred, and the old man made no speed to come 
down and undo for us. Then as we sat to drink coffee the young 
men, which were of W. Aly, reported how a little before they had 
crossed many footprints of men and sheep together. " Out ! 
exclaimed Haj Nejm, the Lord avert ! — then our flock is taken ! " 
— The shepherd Doolan, his son, and a young Fehjy, had led 
the flock that morning under Ethlib. 

After their cups the Beduins rode further. There was no 
lamentation ; if such kind of grief come upon them the 
Moslem Arabs sit awhile astonished, and they speak in under- 
tones without complaining : all is ruled, they muse, by the Will 
above them ; the loss is theirs to-day, they also bring like evil 
upon other. We watched on from the kella terrace, the after- 
noon passed, and yet we saw nothing. As the sun was going 
down, the best eyes descried somewhat ; they said "It is the 
sheep and the goats, with the herdsmen," which returned from 
the contrary part, far under the Harra. The hareem of the gate 
taking up their loud Alleluia lullul-lullul-lullul-la ! children 
shouted with them for joy, and there ran forth men and house- 
wives to have the first tidings : but as the cattle and shepherds 
approached, those that were to us for eyes said they could 
see only about half their beasts returning, and fewer than the 
people which went to meet them. Now they arrived, and 
Doolan came shouting and protesting all the way up to our 
coffee chamber, where with a sigh (which was all he gave to 
grief), Haj Nejm already kindled the evening fire, and had 
d. t. 13 



i 9 4 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

submitted himself, since there was no remedy, to the will of 
Ullah. " Shuf, said he, el-bakht, that such a chance should betide 
upon the only day of all the year when we could be taken unpro- 
vided." Doolan began a passionate argument and loud defence 
of himself. " The ghrazzu was nine on foot, all with guns ! 
wellah, he could know them by their speech to be Beny Atieh ; 
the last night they had lurked in Ethlib, and having watched 
the departure of the aga with the askars, they rose from their 
hiding-places to steal the flock of the kella." It was a place 
of crags and sand-drifts : thus they came upon the shepherds 
at unawares and unseen by them. For many days already 
these robbers had been roaming in the plain, (it was their 
strange footsteps we had seen) until for hunger they went down 
to purchase dates at el- Ally ; where some ill-affected persons 
taught them all the circumstance of our Hejr kella. Doolan 
said to me, " And thou wast well-nigh fallen into their hands, 
for as the robbers brought us forward with the chessab (booty) 
we crossed the fresh footprints of Khalil." 

At first they would kill Doolan, saying, " he was a Fejiry ! " 
and between these neighbours is perpetual blood fued. — " No, I 
beseech you, for I am Doolan the Fehjy." — " If thou art Doolan, 
open thy mouth, man, thou shouldest want the front teeth ; and 
now put out thy tongue : " and the poor Fehjy told us betwixt 
smiling and weeping, " They made me lob them out my 
tongue ! " — " Ay ! he has the slit tongue ; fellows, this is he." — 
The poor man had been maimed thus by a Kuwalla lance-thrust 
in the mouth, when riding in the North. Then the agid or 
leader of the crew, laying the sword-edge to his young son's 
throat, bade Doolan say the sooth of God, whose these sheep 
were and the goats every one. Such as he told them to be of 
the kella they spared, saying, " We are friends of the Dowla." 
To the poor Fehjat at the gate they left a part of their own, and 
took all the remnant, which were of Fukara tribesmen. Doolan's 
loss was three head, the other Fehjies' six ; Haj Nejm had lost 
three ; Wady two. " So four or five will fall to the agid 
(said Nejm) ; they will sup to-night of a sheep, and a goat or 
sheep (the value of three or four reals) will be the lot of every 
man." Afterward the bones were found of these hawks' suppers, 
at the ashes of their evening fire, and by the signs it appeared 
that they had swallowed five head between them, such hungry 
wretches they were : this meal should refresh them homewards, 
after a fortnight's deadly fatigue ; in which all days, wandering 
as thieves in hostile country, they had jeoparded their own lives. 
But such are pains they will undertake with cheerfulness in pur- 
suit of an uncertain booty, and show themselves likely lads that 



HAJ NEJM AND MOHAMMED IBN BASHID. 195 

can attempt an hardy enterprise ; and with aught they bring 
home, however small it be, they hold themselves rewarded. And 
yet there is hardly a miserable Beduin in his ragged booth will 
rise from lying along upon the ground and break his day's 
slumber to make some small endeavour, for as good a reward cer- 
tain. Such rovers when they come home often lie sick of their 
past suffering and are in deadly weariness many long days after. 

" Aha ! if Mohammed Aly," said Haj Nejm, (and he was not 
content with M. Aly,) " had not taken every man along with 
him ! fuzzna we had been up and after them." And the old man 
sat gazing in the air and smoothing himself with wringing his 
fingers ; the Moorish valour still bubbling in him and boiling 
over with impatience. — " Wellah, by this time we had recovered 
our cattle and taken some of their own from them, like as we 
did that day — eigh, Wady ! eigh, Doolan ! — to the ghrazzu of 
Shammar ; but here (he told them on his ringers) be only Wady, 
Doolan, the Fehjy lad, and Mohammed ed-Deybis, four guns 
and I the fifth ; what can we do being so few ! " He spoke 
of a small foray which in a former year had driven away the 
kella flock, and finding some poor Fehjat women gathering 
sticks under Ethlib, stripped them bare out of their poor 
smocks : — that indeed is reckoned a felony among Beduins ; but 
many times in their haste they are not so nice observers of 
the faith of the desert. Haj Nejm then, with another or 
two, had pursued them all night until they came upon the 
Beduin robbers, who, seeing '■ the Dowla " upon them, would not 
stay to be shot at, but abandoning the slow-footed flock, made 
haste to deliver themselves, and rode further. The fierce old 
Moghreby, crying in the night like an afrit, took two theluls 
of theirs, which he afterwards sold to the Alowna ; the price of 
them, he said, with much comfort, " he had eaten, and they were 
now in his body." A gay embroidered dromedary headstall, 
which had been theirs, the kind old man bestowed in later days 
upon me, and where I rode in the desert it was the envy of 
my nomad companions. 

When Mohammed Ibn Rashid was here, the past summer, 
with his armed riders, and had taken the camp of the Welad 
Aly, he lay certain days at the wells under the Borj rocks, and 
bid call the kellajy, saying ' if he were a man afraid to come out 
to him from the fort, he would send in one for him.' Haj Nejm 
answered he feared naught ; and come to the Emir's tent, 
about which the rest (Arabians in an expedition), lay abroad 
barely upon the ground, the great prince of the Beduin coun- 
tries asked gently of his welfare. " Well enough, said Haj 
Nejm, well enough, ay el-Emir, were it not sometimes for 

13—2 



196 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Beduw of yours (Shammar) : and if I had gotten them in my 
hold once I had chopped their necks, wellah, and it were (the 
word fell out of an old man's mouth) thine own self ! " The 
Shammar tyrant, whom the Aarab are wont to fear as the 
death, had never from a poor man such a rebuke. " Thou cut 
off my head ; thou ! " said the prince, rolling himself, and un- 
cheerfully regarding the honest old Moor's countenance, who 
stood there stiffly for the Dowla before him. Mohammed, who 
had weathered waves of the world himself, and privily kept a 
good heart, even when his hands were stained with kinsmen's 
blood, and could show when he durst a pleasant mild humour, 
gave the Dowlany a good new mantle and kerchief with a shirt- 
cloth (those he wore yet) and twenty mejidies ; and to each of 
the men in the kella he bade give five, and a change of clothing. 
The place of their camp about the wells was yet very 
apparent with the litter of a thousand camels. Haj Nejm in 
our days abroad showed me where the Prince's coffee-fire had 
been and where was his kitchen hearth, in a cleft of the wild 
sand-rock ; and the Emir's oratory, — a parcel of ground guarded 
from the common by a narrow horse-shoe of stones, the head bent 
towards Mecca. Such praying-places I saw often laid in the open 
deserts of Ibn Eashid's country. Nejm told me how this man 
came to be prince, killing nigh a score of his kinsfolk. " Then, 
I asked, what has this man, or devil, to do with religion ? 
Wherefore should he pray ? who made his own brother childless, 
and killed his brethren ! does God hear murderers ? " Moham- 
med Aly answered me: " No, by God, and thou sayest rightly ; a 
man of blood can have no part in the religion." These sallies are 
never unwelcome to the Arabs, being as sparkles struck upon their 
own natural hearts, in the confused religious darkness of their 
Semitic conscience. When I heard it had been deliberated to 
give me poison in the dish at el-Ally, — they thought the Nasrany 
could be come for no good so far hither, and he was " writing " 
their rocks — also that some of the kella and gate Arabs had 
asked license of the aga to make me away secretly, saying to 
Mohammed Aly, ' if only it should not hurt him at Damascus ; ' 
— and it had been done, but that they were in dread of an after- 
clap of the Dowla : — how ! I answered them who warned me, 
are these theu so light to shed man's blood, who patter their 
daily prayers, as I hear them, most solemnly ? tell me whe- 
ther such be good Moslemin? Answer: "Ha! they pray, 
and their prayers are naught, God will not hear them, they are 
wicked men : but wot you, Khalil, what they all say in this 
country, ' It is lawful to kill the Nasrany, that were a deed well- 
pleasing unto Ullah ; he is God's adversary.' " Prayer to their 



RIDDLERS. 197 

understanding is to recite the canonical oration with unction 
at the hours, with washen hands and comely abasement of 
bowing and kneeling. At other times I have found some gospel 
(as of the true cleanness and fasting), which pulled down their 
malicious coxcombs, and they as Semites naturally of the reli- 
gious mind, were pleased with these saws : so the best of them 
have then said, " Listen now ! that Khalil opens (the religious 
understanding)." 

But Doolan the herdsman for all his mighty oaths was not 
able to clear himself from the reproaches of the rest whose sheep 
he fed. Wady, a merely bad comely man, ceased not with dark 
looks to injure him every moment, and crying " Ha Fehjy ! " 
Little blame belonged to the poor herdsman, who with a lad had 
been overpowered by nine desperate land-lopers. After the 
sheep were stolen the door was locked, and we passed three 
days committed to the kella. To drive the evenings in our now 
thin and silent company, the old man Nejm propounded riddles, 
over the coffee hearth. The Arabs were ready, they said theirs, 
and we guessed round ; when the word fell to me I set them the 
enigma of the sphinx, saying, this was the most famous riddle in 
the world. Haj Nejm told over in his palm, all the beasts 
of the wilderness, and wondered greatly what this strange thing 
should mean ; especially when I acknowledged that I had seen 
his footprints lately in the plain, not far off. When they could 
not unriddle that dark word-binding of the sphinx, they were 
delighted with the homely interpretation. Twice again I was 
taken in riddlers' company in Arabia, and have propounded 
my riddle, since I knew none other : a Beduin weled, son of 
(Edipus, sitting amongst the second wiseacres, unriddled me 
at the moment ; this kind of parabolical wisdom falls to the 
Semitic humour and is very pleasant to the Arabs. 

The fourth day, came again M. Aly and the nefers in a rain 
from el-Ally. Snaking himself from the unwonted wet, he 
stamped mainly in his trooper's boots, and swore in Pilate's voice 
1 there should not a head of the sheep go lost, no ! nor of the 
goats neither. Every man should have his own again and that 
soon, by Ullah : and were those robbers any of B. Atieh, Wellah ! 
as ever the Haj should be come to Tebuk he would bind the 
sheykhs of them to a cannon-mouth! he had a mind also to 
wring from them some camel, in amends, for himself.' Only of 
their few words had been guessed the men's tribe and their 
fendy, that they were Khuthera, of that dark looming northern 
Harra which is seen afar off from el-Hejr, and from whence are 
fetched the best basalt quern-stones (above the kellat el-Akhdar). 
All the idle nomads are diligent discerners of discourses ; those 



198 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

men had said hirra, hire, which sounds more often kirwa upon 
the Beduin tongue, kerwa at el- Ally. 

Authors of the most alarms at Medain Salih were the 
W. Aly, in their perpetual defections and returning from one 
to the other part ; they finding the Dowla a vain name to pro- 
tect them in the desert, were now of a mind, forsaking again 
the Dowla to be reconciled with Ibn Kashid. I heard some 
sherif (or elder of the noble blood of Mohammed) from Medina 
would be fetched up in the Haj to Medain, to be a mean 
between them. A great W. Aly market party coming in, in 
these days, to meet the Haj, and alighting beside Kasr es-Sany, 
was alarmed by a rumour, in the ears of their evil consciences, 
so leaving their market stuff on the ground, they hied in 
panic fear upon the empty camels towards el-Ally. After 
their amazement they found it had been nothing, yet durst no 
more encamp there ; but loading their packs they entered the 
rugged borders of the not distant Harra. The same day a 
poor Fehjy had been stripped of his shirt and robbed of his 
thelul, in the plain. On the morrow some W. Aly were spoiled 
near el-Hejr, by ten robbers. The young brothers habalis, 
lately gone out from us, not having returned, we thought them 
lost. At a fortnight's end they came again, smiling with all 
their white teeth, and leading in, to sell them in the Haj market, 
three asses, which they had stolen by night-time whilst the 
owners slept, from an encampment of Heteym far behind Khey- 
bar, perhaps a hundred miles distant. They were deadly weary, 
so long they had trudged, with peril of their lives, upon the 
sharp lavas in an enemies' country, and having nothing to eat. 

Certain traders, men born of Damascus fathers, arrived now 
from Teyma and were guests in the kella : they would buy their 
provision of clothing and coffee, for the year, in the Haj and 
Jurdy markets. The same night came in the servants of Ibn 
Rashid, bringing the Emir's yearly present of a Nejd mare 
for the Pasha. On the morrow, as we saw the Prince's gift-mare 
standing in a horse-cloth of Arab mantle-stuff, weak, and un- 
curried, she seemed to us hardly worth an ass, and our Moors 
scoffed saying that this was wellah but a jade. The Jurdy was 
about to arrive : the clerk of the Jurdy, called by the Aarab 
the Jurdy pasha, riding out before them, knocked in the first 
hours after midnight upon the iron door of the kella. This 
was a Syrian Turk Mohammed Tdhir Effendy, and there came 
with him the lieutenant of the military guard, a worthy 
Turk ; he that had been stationed formerly with his troop to 
repress the W. Aly at el-Ally. They saluted me with good 



THE JURDY ARRIVED FROM SYRIA. 199 

humour, glad to find me safe, and we all went to drink coffee 
together. Weary with the journey, quoth Mohammed Tahir, 
as they sat down, Ha wellah ! ana shebaan min ummr-y, 
11 By the Lord I have now had my fill of life." — " What say'st 
thou ! " answered Mohammed Aly ; for who ever heard such 
a word in a fortunate man's mouth ? — " That I am full of 
my life, and that which is passed already, wellah, sufficeth 
me." Mohammed Effendy was a good man, careless of super- 
stitious ceremonial, of singular humour, one who spoke and 
wrought all, in the perplexed human life, from his heart ; as 
the Turks are not seldom, he was full of robust and, could they 
be well bestowed, of great natural qualities. In the grey of the 
morning rode in the Jurdy train ; in half an hour, a street 
of tent-shops and the white village of soldiers' tents was set up 
before the kella. The Jurdy pass the Beduin country in like 
military order, and paying a surra as the Haj before them. The 
Jurdy (jerid, javelin) is sent down some time after the great 
pilgrimage, with relief of provisions from Syria, to meet them 
here at the midway returning from Mecca. That which was 
anciently a great convoy is now but a weary company of few 
private traders ; they journey guarded by forty horse troopers, 
and training on wheels a wide-mouthed short brass field-cannon, 
which was fired many times according to usage in their now 
arriving at the merkez, Medain : the day was the 3rd of February. 
The same afternoon came fruit-sellers of the Alowna upon camels 
hired of the Welad Aly, and alighted without tents under the 
kella ; with bushes they fenced in their encampment from the 
winter's night wind. The villagers brought dates and baskets 
of sweet lemons for the thirsty pilgrimage ; an hundred I have 
bought at el- Ally for half-a-crown. 

Late in the day, as I sat in the tent of the Jurdy officer, 
upon a sudden, shots were fired in the camp : we rose and went 
out to see this chance. The soldiers of Syria, with savage 
levity, were shooting after a flying rout of Beduins, that had 
even now attempted to rob the Jurdy market, and were W. Aly 
tribesmen. I saw also the kella walls were manned, and that 
the feeble garrison fired off their matchlocks at those who fled 
and the iron gate was sparred. A trooper shouted hoarsely to 
slue the gun and let fly after them ; — as herdsmen and wolves, 
soldiers and Beduins may never agree together ; a shell was 
soon shot over their heads, which burst with a distant rumour 
in the sandy wilderness. Yet in the Jurdy pasha's tent there 
sat a great W. Aly personage, Mehsan the blind, next in dignity 
among them after his cousin, the head of the tribe ; he was 
rich among the sheukh of the desert, and the man's antique 



200 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

hospitality was chanted in the songs of the country side. Mehsan 
was a guest in camp to-day, waiting to go up with the Haj, to 
be treated for his cataract at Damascus. He hearing this stir 
sat on, rolling the pitiful dark eyeballs, and seemed to commise- 
rate the sinister chance of his witless wild tribesmen. A robust 
man was he, now in elder's years, and very well bearded for an 
Arabian ; a sign among Beduins that in his honourable life he 
had never hungered. His diet was buttermilk of the flock, and 
he supped of a bowl of camel-milk from the cow at evening : 
and wide was the chest of this sheykh of the desert which 
harboured so large an heart. 

Mehsan sat lordly clad in his new garments of honour, that 
he received every year of the Haj administration with his surra : 
the man was of not less understanding, with his good hearty 
humour ; he had been often a government guest in the towns. 
He knew at Damascus and el-Medina the settled life, and which 
until he pine again for the purer air is a refreshment to the for- 
wandered Beduin. Mehsan was afflicted in a part of his human 
nature which is to the Semitic affection a grave unhappiness : 
the man went childless, he was ajjr (infecundus) ; which the 
Arabs believe to follow upon some acute diseases. Mehsan's heirs 
were therefore his poorer tribesmen and strangers, all such being 
daily partakers of the bountiful man's mess. Mehsan had but 
one cheerless wife, for the dispense and service of his great 
household of hospitality. After Ibn Kashid's late foray and the 
mischief of his tribe, he had divided (I heard said) five hundred 
reals to the more necessitous ; and though his own spacious 
Beduin booth and plentiful house-stuff had been carried away 
with the booty : — a great sum was this, that any nomad should 
have in his hand of ready money (his surra) : and how much 
public virtue was in this desert-born man, leading the vagabund 
life of the poor Beduin Arabs ! 

Every soldier emptied his sixteen-shotted carbine, but I 
could not hear that any of the Aarab was hurt ; yet it was said 
that one had been touched in the shoulder. Such shooting 
is cause that the nomads make light of the military fire-arms, as 
tools that shoot very fair and far off ; their beggarly matchlocks 
they are persuaded to be much the better pieces. 

Now came in Bishr Beduins and strangers of other neighbour 
tribes, as Billi and Jeheyna ; they would buy and sell in the 
Haj market : for this they paid, every one for himself, a real of 
brotherhood to some sheykh of the nomads of these marches. 
Landlords in their own right are, here, W. Aly, the Fejir, and the 
Moahib, all of Annezy stock. Among the Moahib was a Morocco 
Moor formerly of the garrison at el-Akhdar, who forsaking that 



ABD EL- AZIZ. 201 

ill-paid service of the Dowla was become a rice-carrier from el- 
Wejh, and he lived now wived among the Aarab. His name 
was Mohammed, and they called him Abu Sinun, or father of 
teeth, for his deformity of great canine tushes. An asthma 
made him seek the airy nomad life. Pleasantly smiling, he 
professed himself glad to meet, so far from the world, in this 
solitude, with an Engleysy ; ' the Engleys were his people's 
neighbours ! and if I visited him at any time in the Moahib 
camp, he would show me yonder Harra and carry me to visit 
the sites of ruins in their nomad circuit.' 

I saw a Beduwy arrested with cruel outcries in the kella. 
He was of Jeheyna : his fault was an ancient debt, and Haj 
Hasan stood threatening nothing less than to chop off his head. 
Some nomads entreated for the man, but his tormentors bound 
him and thrust back the hapless wretch into the dark forage- 
chamber, and locked the door upon him. The Jurdy pasha, 
who sat then by the well in the kella, shrinking his shoulders 
at the barbarous spectacle, looked up towards me to see how 
the European might bear it ! Many guests were now lodged in 
the kella ; those from Hayil and from Teyma, with daily con- 
course of Aarab and Alowna, so that there was no more room in 
the coffee -chamber. 

The emir Ibn Kashid's messengers were three freshly clad 
Nejders. The principal was Abd el- Aziz, a prudent and honour- 
able person of the prince's confidence ; but although white as the 
Arabs I have understood he was not fully of the ingenuous 
blood, his parentage was from el-Aruth in the eastern Nejd. 
Many are the foreigners who have obtained some office, and stand 
now foremost in the tyrant's service at Hayil. These white liber- 
tines in Arabia may be descended from Galla blood. A certain 
yellowness in their dim white skin, betrays them to be not 
pure Arabians. In Abd el- Aziz was a noble amenity, the Nejd 
manners and a substantial carriage, where a feminine sweetness 
of their humanity is mixed with a manly severity. He was also 
a maintainer here of his master's dignity : so when there entered 
some Ally villagers, in whose sorry dusky looks he could not be 
mistaken, Abd el- Aziz, with a lofty gesture, bade them with- 
draw. It should not become him, he said, to sit in one company 
with Alowna. This might be of an old Wahaby grudge, in 
whose best days these abhorred Hejaz villagers had never 
bowed to the Nejd tyranny. Yet the same Abd el- Aziz could 
sit courting the W. Aly nomads, now the Prince's enemies. 
Friendly they sipped coffee of the same cups, and yet it was by 
this tribe's treacheries that had happened great damage of 
late, and slaughter of the Aarab in the emir's dominions. Ibn 



202 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Eashid hoped to receive their submission ere long, since they 
could not always hold out against him. " Aha-ha," laughed 
Mohammed Aly, coming to my chamber ; ''0 the strange fare 
that is amongst these Beduins ! they would cut each other's 
throats, wellah, in the field, and here you may see them all 
drink kindly together." I went in to sit with them ; — " Mehsan," 
said Abd el- Aziz, turning to the blind sheykh's ear, " my counsel 
is to you that you hold the mountains, and remain in cragged 
places, where Ibn Eashid may hardly attain you." Mehsan an- 
swered mildly, " Ay, ay, Abd el- Aziz, and this will we do." 

The morning and evening hospitality, a vast metal charger 
heaped with twenty or thirty men's victuals, was led in between 
two bearers and set upon the gallery, and to this were bidden 
the guests of the kella. Haj Nejm's Arab cheer was buttered 
rice upon half-baked girdle-bread. Mohammed Aly could make 
himself pleasant to all his guests and strangers in the tower : of 
the Teyma men he subtilly enquired the situation of their 
town ; ' was it plain or wady ? and he would ride to visit them 
{when, a government man, he durst) some of these years.' To 
his forged Turkish words the frank Teyamena knew to answer 
guardedly again ; aware that the governors of Medina had 
meditated to take their oasis, in which they lived more to their 
minds under Mohammed Ibn Eashid. 

Abd el- Aziz visited me daily in my chamber ; he discoursed 
with the stranger liberally, and so did those from Teyma ; they 
had heard a good report of the Nasrany in the kella, and under- 
stood me to be well affected towards the Moslemin. He being 
a lettered man, examined also my books and, having never seen 
printed letters, he took them for manuscript, saying, " — very 
fairly written in language of the Nasara ! " their own books, 
hagiography, quires of songs, and the koran, are mostly hand- 
written amongst them. Nejm and Mohammed Aly had boasted 
to them that the Nasrany never lied, even were it to help 
himself ; so he answered me with the truth and frankly, in all 
that I enquired of him. The beginning of the great Wady er- 
Eummah was, he said, in the Harrat Kheybar, and the going 
out at Zbeyer near to Bosra. He told me also I should see some 
inscriptions about Hayil if ever I came thither. As he heard 
so much among them that I was Tom Truth, he returned to 
ask me again, Did I " drink " smoke, — for that is less than godly 
among Nejders. He with only two companions had ridden 
round upon theluls by Teyma, leading the mare, in ten desert 
journeys ; such is become the security of those Beduin districts, 
under the strong name of Ibn Eashid. The men of Nejd and 
Teyma were very diligent in their often devotion ; buckets had 



THE COLD WINTERS NIGHT AT EL-HE JR. 203 

been set for them, upon the kella terrace, for their washings 
at the hours of prayer : then Abd el- Aziz, the prince's mes- 
senger, standing forth as imam before them, led their formal 
prostrations. 

The Haj was late, and the Beduish multitude, which were 
come to market without their booths, lay out sheltering under 
the bushes in these bitter cold nights ; their cheerful watch-fires 
appeared glimpsing up and down in the dark, nigh the camp, in 
the wilderness. In the watch before midnight shells were shot 
from the Jurdy cannon east and west over their treasonable 
heads into the empty waste. Long now and chill at this alti- 
tude were the winter nights ; the gate Arabs these two months 
could not sleep past midnight, but lay writhing, with only 
their poor mantles lapped about them, in the cold sand and 
groaning for the morning. But especially their women suffer 
in the ragged tents : some of them, bare of all world's good, 
have not more than a cotton smock upon their bodies ; for 
where might they find silver to buy any mantle to cover them ? 
Snow falls not in the plain, but some years it whitens the 
Harra, above 3000 feet height. A dromedary rider, sent down 
to meet the Haj, brought word that the pilgrims had been de- 
layed, in their camps, by (tropical) rains, betwixt the Harameyn. 
Now the caravan approaching, it was rumoured they brought 
the small-pox among them. Beduins of my acquaintance, who 
cared not to receive it before as a gift, now entreated me to sell 
them vaccination ; and they reproached me when in this busy 
stir and preparation to depart, I could not hear them. 

The same evening we saw flights of locusts, an ill augury of 
the opening spring season ; they would devour the rabia. The 
people cried, " They come driving from el- Ally." The bird-like in- 
sects flittering upon their glassy feeble wings in the southern wind, 
fell about the camp ; these locusts were toasted presently at all 
watch-fires and eaten. The women on the morrow had gathered 
great heaps, and were busy singeing them in shallow pits, with a 
weak fire of herbs ; they give up a sickly odour of fried fish oil. 
Thus cured and a little salt cast in, the locust meat is stived in 
leathern sacks, and will keep a good long while : they mingle 
this, brayed small, with their often only liquid diet of sour 
buttermilk. Locust powder is not victual to set before guests ; 
and I have seen poor nomads (more often women) a little out of 
countenance to confess that (to beguile hunger) they were eating 
this wretchedness. The best is the fat spring locust, and 
" fretting every green thing," the Aarab account them medicinal. 
The later broods, dubba, born of these, sexless, or imperfect 
females, finding only a burned-up herbage, are dry and un- 



204 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

wholesome. This early locust, toasted, is reckoned a sweet- 
meat in town and in desert. 

In these days whilst we awaited the pilgrimage, so incurious 
were the weary Damascenes who came with the Jurdy, that only 
two parties, and they upon account of my being there, went a 
mile abroad to visit the monuments at Medain Salih. The 
Jurdy pasha, with the Turkish lieutenant and his troop, 
Mohammed Aly guiding them, galloped another day to see 
what they were, for whose sake the Engleysy was come down, so 
far, from Syria. A lonely Christian in the midst of a stirring 
multitude of Moslemin, assembled at el-Hejr, I lived among 
Syrians, and under that somewhat burdensome jealousy of the 
tolerant better sort of Arabians. Mohammed Aly also recom- 
mended me to everyone who might further my adventure in 
Arabia ; from which, notwithstanding, all the friendly and 
well-disposed persons very heartily dissuaded me : it is not of 
their easy religious minds to attempt anything untried. " Whither 
would I go, said they, to lose myself in lawless land, to be an 
outlaw, if only for my name of Nasrany, and far from all succour ; 
where they themselves, that were of the religion and of the 
tongue, durst not adventure ? Khalil, think better for thyself, 
and return with us, whilst the way is open, from this hunger- 
stricken wilderness and consumed by the sun ; thou wast not 
bred, and God calls thee not, to this suffering in a land which 
only demons, afarit, can inhabit ; the Beduw are demons, but 
thou art a Nasrany, — there everyone that seeth thee will kill 
thee ! And if the Lord's singular grace save thy life to the end, 
yet what fruit shouldst thou have for all those great pains ? 
Other men jeopardy somewhat in hope of winning, but thou 
wilt adventure all, having no need." And some good hearts of 
them looked between kindness and wonder upon me, that born 
to the Frankish living, full of superfluity, I should carelessly 
think to endure the Aarab's suffering and barren life. And 
they said, "Ina day or two we return to Syria, leave thou this 
purpose, and go up in our company : and is not Damascus a 
pleasant city to dwell in ? " The like said also the blind 
Mehsan, he too would honestly dissuade me, a man of the town- 
life, and a Nasrany : " Hear," said he, "a friendly counsel ; re- 
turn now, Khalil, with the Haj to es-Sham : here is only a land 
of Beduw under no rule, and where thou art named Nasrany ; 
do not jeopardy thy life : and yet I tell thee, wilt thou needs 
adventure, the Aarab are good folk, and thou wilt enlarge 
thy breast (feel thy heart to be free) amongst them." M. Aly 
answered, " Khalil is a man too adventurous ; there may nothing 
persuade him." Said a sheykh, " If one go to the Aarab, he 



SIDDUS. 205 

should carry his shroud under his arm with him ; " others said, 
4t Khalil, see thou trust not thyself to any of them all ; the 
Beduw are elfin." The Jurdy officers blamed me, saying, 
" And why cast your life away ? you know them not, but we 
know them ; the Beduins are tiends." And the lieutenant said, 
M Even we which are soldiers cannot pass, but by paying them 
surra. They are rebels, and (he added as a Turk) deserve to 
lose their heads. How durst they gainsay the authority of the 
Sultan ! " They asked me, " What think you of this desert ? " 
" I warrant you (answered M. Aly, the Algerian), if Fransa had 
it, there would be towns and villages." I told them I thought 
the country would not be worth the pains. 

Secretary with the Jurdy was a swarthy Ageyly Arabian, a 
lettered man of the Wahaby country, and very unlike all those 
Syrian faces about him. And yet the eyes of his dark visage 
regarded me with goodwill, without fanatical envy, as a simple 
Nasrany traveller in land of the Arabs : he said he would tell me 
of a wonder in his country where I might come another day. 
" Write !. . .Siddus, in W. Halifa, in the dirat Umseylmy (Moseili- 
ma) el-kithdb (the false prophet), there is set up a mil (needle, or 
pillar) with an unknown writing, no man can tell what ; but it was 
of those Nasara or kafirs which in old time inhabited the land." 

It was now ascertained that the Haj brought the small-pox 
among them. This terrible disease and cholera-fever are the 
destruction of nomad Arabia. In their weakly nourished bodies 
is only little resistance to any malignant sickness. The pil- 
grimage caravans, (many from the provinces of Arabia herself,) 
are as torrents of the cities' infection flowing every year through 
the waste Peninsula. 

The eighth morrow of this long expectation, the Haj, which 
had journeyed all night, were seen arriving in the plain. The 
Jurdy troop mounted and galloped with their officers to salute 
the Pasha. The tent-pitchers came before : in few more 
minutes the}' had raised the pilgrims' town of tents, by the Jurdy 
camp. The jingles sounded again in our ears, measured to the 
solemn gait of the colossal bearing-camels, of the pageant-like 
(but now few returning) takhts er-Bum. The motley multitude 
of the Haj came riding after. Their straggling trains passed by 
for half an hour, when the last of the company re-entered their 
lodgings. Twice every year stands this canvas city of a day, 
in the Thamudite plain, full of traffic ! Cobblers sat at the 
suk corners to drive their trade ; they had by them raw soles of 
camels fallen by the way ; and with such they clouted shoes for 
those who fared so far on foot. The Jurdy street of tent-shop* 



206 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

was soon enlarged by the new merchants' tents. The price of 
small commodities is, at this mid-way station, five to eight times 
the market worth at Damascus. The Jurdy have brought down 
Syrian olives, leeks and cheese and caravan biscuit. The Jurdy 
baker was busy with his fire-pit of sticks in the earth and his 
girdle-pans, tannur, to make fine white flat-bread, for the pennies 
of the poor pilgrims. The refreshing sweet and sour lemons 
and helw dates, from el-Ally, I saw very soon sold out. The 
merchants upon camels from Damascus opened their bales in the 
tents and set out coffee-cups, iron ware, precious carpets (like 
gardens of fresh colours and soft as the spring meadows,) — 
fairings for great sheykhs ! and clothing stuffs for the poor 
Beduw. The returning Haj tradesmen bring up merchandise 
from Mecca ; now in their tent stalls I saw heaps of coffee from 
el- Yemen (Arabia the Happy). 

In little outlying tents I found spices set to sale from the 
Malay islands, India or Mecca perfumes, and trifles in porcelain 
from the China Seas ; all brought by the Mohammedan pilgrims, 
assembling to the Holy Fair, of many strange distant nations. 
The keeper of one of them cried to the Beduins, " Come up and 
buy, ya Aarab ! " women who went by, seeking for some drugs and 
spicery, answered again very soberly, " What hast thou, young 
man ? " When they murmured at his price, " How is this ? (ex- 
claimed the seller) do ye take me for one that could defraud you, 
a man come up from beholding the temple of Ullah ! " — Then, 
seeing me, he stayed in his talk to salute me ! the fellow made 
me all the false smiling excuses in the world in the name of the 
Persian Mohammed Aga, because he was not come this way 
again (as his feigned promise had been to me, to convey me 
to es-Shem), but gone about by sea to Bagdad. The Persian 
feared in his conscience, I might another day accuse him at 
Damascus. There I afterwards saw him again, when I had 
returned in peace from Arabia ; but so many world's waves 
were gone over my head, that when he spoke to me in the 
market-place I remembered him not, only of the cankered 
visage there lingered some uneasy remembrance ; he might be 
sure that I intended no unkindness. " Ah! (he said then to my 
companion, a Damascene) what have I suffered for your friend 
because I conveyed him to Medain Salih, at Maan and all along 
the road ! What happened to me then at el-Medina ! Wellah ! 
I would not undertake the like again ; — no, not for five times 
the money. At Medina I was examined before their council, 
day by day, and they regarded not my solemn oaths, but would 
compel me to acknowledge where I had hidden the Nasrany. I 
was never in such trouble in my life." 



A TRIBESMAN OF MURRA. 207 

Poor Beduins flitted up and down in the street of tent- 
shops, to sell their few pints of samn for silver, and hoping 
to have therefore a new mantle this year and a shdmy (Da- 
mascus ware) shirt-cloth. The pilgrims who have journeyed 
through the night are now reposing in the tents, and the 
pleasant water-pipe and the cup are made ready at a hundred 
coffee fires : but the large white faces of girded Damascenes, 
their heavy foreheads wound round with solemn turbans, their 
citizen clothing and superfluous slops, are now quaint to the eye 
disused a while in the wilderness. Great press of their waterers 
was about the birket, to fill the girbies and draw for the mul- 
titude of cattle. The kella cistern was already green and 
fermenting. Even the nomads (who are not wont to find good 
water), refused to drink ; it was become to us abominable by 
the nasty ablutions to prayerward of the odious Alowna, who 
made no conscience to go down and wash their bodies in the 
public water. 

In this great company I met with a swarthy Beduwy of the 
Murra Aarab, a tribe far in the south, by Wady Dauasir. The 
man was going up in the Haj caravan to Syria ! when I asked 
him of his country, he answered me with that common sorry 
saying of the Beduins, Ma biha kheyr, " little or no good to find 
in her." He would say, " an open soil without villages, land of 
dearth and hunger." Beled biha kheyr, " a good land," they use to 
say of a country whose inhabitants do eat and are satisfied. 

I had been in friendly wise commended by the Jurdy officers, 
and praised by Mohammed Aly to the Pasha ; but I did not think 
it well so early in the busy day to visit him, who of my coming 
to Medain Salih had formerly conceived a grave displeasure. 
From M. Aly, both in his better mind and in his angry mo- 
ments, I had heard all that matter. In the December night of 
the Haj departure from Medain, the Turkish Sir Amin and 
Mohammed Said Pasha had sent, before they removed, to 
call again M. Aly. " Wellah, they said to him, hast thou not 
hidden the Nasrany, to send him secretly to Medina and Mecca ? " 
" God is my witness, no your lordships, but this man certainly 
has adventured hither only to see Medain Salih : trust me he 
shall not pass a step further : in any case I shall know how to 
let him ; but I go to bring him before you : he shall answer for 
himself." " No," said the Pasha, " I will not see his face, and I 
have a dignity to keep." (It might be when I visited him in 
Damascus, I had not observed to call the old portly embezzler 
of public moneys " Your Magnificence ! ") Said the Sir Amin 
(of Stambul), " Hearken, kellajy ; if this Engleysy should follow 
us but one footstep further to Medina, thou art to bring me 



208 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

the dog's head." [Englishmen, who help these barbarians at 
Constantinople that cannot be taught, they would murder you 
secretly, and let hounds live, at Medina and Mecca !] The 
Pasha said to Mohammed Aly, " Let him remain with you in 
the kella, and you are to send him round to all the monuments, 
that no more Franks come hither hereafter. Look to it, 
that no evil befall this man : for wellah we will require his life 
at thy hand." Sir Amin : " By Almighty God, except we find 
him alive at our coming again, we will hang thee, Mohammed 
Aly, above the door of thine own kella." Sore adread are they 
of late to be called in question for the life of European citizens. 
— M. Aly looked stoutly upon it, and answered to their beards, 
that ' he would obey his orders, but by High God, he was a 
Moghreby, and not to be put in awe by living creature.' Now I 
must ask a boon of the Pasha, namely, that he would commend 
me to the wild Beduins of the road. When the caravan re- 
moved in the morning, I should go forth to wander with the 
Aarab in the immense wilderness. The Jurdy officers had dis- 
suaded Zeyd, so had even the Pasha himself ; but Zeyd hoped 
to win silver, and they had no power at all with a free Beduin. 

Some Algerian derwishes were evening guests at the kella. 
Willingly they allowed to me — I might seem to them a Moslem 
stranger, — that they had both liberty of religion, and justice, 
under their Christian rulers. There were also Moorish askars 
come in from the kellas to the southward ; for here they draw 
their stipends, which upon the haj way are paid for the year be- 
forehand, although all other men's wages of the Ottoman Dowla 
be as much or more in arrear : — which of them would otherwise 
remain cut off, in the midst of great deserts, waiting for his 
pay ? that were much the same to them as if they should never 
receive it. Merry were these men of the settled countries, used to 
stout hackneys, to look upon the lean and scald gift-mare of the 
Nejd prince. 'A beggarly scorn, to send this carrion, not worth 
thirty crown pieces ; and the Pasha would not accept her ! ' Some 
Beduins who were present boasted her worth to be thirty camels. 
A Syrian said, " A month at Shem, and she will seem better than 
now. A mare another year, lean as a faggot, sent by this 
Beduin emir, Ibn Bashid or what you call him, grew in the 
Pasha's stable, with plenty of corn and green provender, to be 
big — ay as this coffee-chamber ! " The best brood-mares of pure 
blood are valued in the Aarab tribes, where they are few, at 
twenty-five camels, that is £130 at least, or at most £150 
sterling ; and the worst at five camels, which is the price of the 
best theluls. The Beduin prince's yearly gift of a mare to 



THE MUSKOV. 209 

Mohammed Said was a sop in the mouth of the great Syrian 
pasha. The Pasha at his coming clown again with the next 
year's pilgrimage sends his messenger from hence to Hayil, 
bearer of counter-gifts for the Arabian emir. These are revolver 
pistols, rifle-guns, telescopes, and the like Western wares from 
Stambul. 

Upon the morrow at eight, when the signal gun was fired, 
the Haj caravan set forward, and I rode after them with Zeyd, 
upon a young camel he had bought me for thirty reals. In de- 
parting he asked Mohammed Aly to remember him at Damascus 
(for his gift-foal), and bring him down, in the next Haj, at least, a 
furred winter cloak [the town guise : Syrian Aarab wear a warm 
jerkin of sheep skins ; Sinai Beduins a gazelle or other skin 
hanging from the neck, which they shift round their bodies 
as the wind blows]. Little the other answered again ; they 
were both deceivers, and we saw him no more. We journeyed 
through the Hejr plain, full of little sand-hillocks blown about 
rimth bushes. A Welad Aly tribesman reviling me as we rode, 
(neighbours to Medina, they have I know not what ill savour 
of the town, with their nomad fanatical malignity,) said he, 
' Wouldst thou bring upon us the Muscov ? thou enemy ! (he 
levelled his matchlock ;) but know that thus we will do with them, 
we have many guns like this and every Beduwy in battle 
is worth, wellah, ten Muscovies." I said to him, " By my faith, 
one of them I can think were a match for many idle vaunters of 
you weleds ; I am no enemy, simpleton : there is no nation in all 
the world which envies you your sand deserts. I am of the 
part of the Sultan, and against those Muscov, if they came 
hither." We alighted a moment, to let the caravan pass up- 
ward before Mubrak en-Naga. It was a mirth to hear the 
solemn loud hooting and pistol firing of the devout hajjies. 
For the Beduw, ignorant of the koran mythology, here (as; 
said) is but "The thronging place": it might be such in 
former times when the pilgrimage was a multitude. As we 
rode I saw that the east cliff was full of antique scored inscrip- 
tions : but I could not now alight to transcribe them. Looking; 
here from the height of my camel, I thought I saw the caravan 
much diminished ; hardly two-third parts returned of the Haj 
which had gone down to Mecca : there was not a Persian fur 
cap amongst them. The holy visitation accomplished, many 
go home by sea ; a few have died in the way. With the Haj 
returning from Mecca, are brought the African slaves, for all the 
north-west of the Mohammedan world, but gazing all day up 
and down, I could not count five among them. 

d. t. 14 



2io TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Seeing that some Beduins who marched with us had stopped 
their nostrils, I enquired the cause. The men told me ' they 
had never been inoculated, and they doubted sore to smell the 
Haj.' Nomads living always in an incorrupt atmosphere, are 
very imaginative of all odours. In entering towns, where they 
are sensible of diverse strange, pungent and ungrateful airs, 
it is common to see them breathe with a sort of loathing, 
through a lap of their kerchiefs. Sultry was that afternoon, 
and we were thirsty. A poor derwish, who went by on foot, 
hearing one say " water," laid hand, with a pleasant look, upon 
the bridle of my camel, and lifting his little girby he said 
heartily, " Drink of this, pilgrim, and refresh thyself." 
Seeing but foul rotten water in the leathern bag and dis- 
coloured, I gave him his own again ; but he would not hear my 
excuses. It seemed by his looks he thought the rider on the 
camel had ill requited his religious gentleness, for all charity is 
cold in the struggle of the haj road. A moment he gazed in 
anger, his merit lost ; and passing on wearily might guess the 
man who would not drink water with other pilgrims to be no 
right Moslem. 

The ascending Haj came to their camping-ground before 
sunset. We alighted and I went to commit my large roll of 
inscriptions, impressed at Medain Salih, to Mohammed Tahir ; he 
laid my commission in his camel-chests, and promised with good 
humour to deliver them at Damascus to the British Consulate : — 
and very honourably he did so, indeed. I enquired if there were 
any political tidings in Medina. He said thus : ' The Powers had 
exhibited certain requisitions to the Porte, threatening if they 
were not satisfied to make common cause against the Sultan.' — 
" And England ? " — " Ay, and Inghilterra ! Ha now ! who can 
tell how the world will go ? " There was standing by a young 
Turkish officer of the Haj soldiery, and he said to me, "We 
know that the Frenjies talk these many years of dividing the 
Empire of the Sooltan : but what says the Sooltan ? ' Well, and 
it must be so, hy yellah, let them come, one or all together ; and 
unto whom it shall please the Lord, to them be the victory ! '" He 
said this in a young man's melancholy, as if the divine decree 
were about to go forth and they must march soon to put all 
upon that final adventure. — The most fanatic and wild Mo- 
hammedan region lay before me, where the name of Nasrany 
is only wont to be said as an injury ; how might I have passage 
amongst a frenetic and sanguinary population, and not be taken 
for a spy, one of their imagined hereditary enemies ? Because 
their political talk was full of solecisms, I judged the truth might 
be less, and thought not now to return from this enterprise. Was 



THE MILITARY BONE-SETTEE. 211 

this a year of the jehad ? yet another time I might have no 
list to travel in Arabia. The two officers turning at un- 
awares looked to read in my looks how I received and did 
digest this news of their dying religion, whether with no secret 
exultation ? foreseeing the Christian triumph to be nearly ready 
in the world : but when they marked evidently that I was not 
glad of their sorrow, but pensive, this lifted me to the height of 
their good opinion. 

I awaited Zeyd ; when we alighted the guileful Beduin 
would lead, he said, our camels to pasture ; and then we could 
go together to find the Pasha. He eluded me till nightfall, 
when weary and fasting since yesterday, I returned through the 
sentinels to the fires of my Beduin company : there I found 
Zeyd, who sat sipping coffee. He made me place, and with 
smiles dissembled out the matter. Later, re-entering the Haj 
menzil, I went alone to visit the Pasha ; but stumbling at the 
cords of his pavilion, for the lights were out, I understood from 
the watchman that the great man was already at rest. I saw 
there the empty bearing-frame, standing without, of the Mahmal 
camel ; and next to the great tent was made a small pole-and- 
curtain court, " for an apartment of the hareem." I came then 
to the military surgeon, whom they call el-jdbbar, or the bone- 
setter ; he had promised to read me a lesson in the art of 
medicine. I found him a worthy person, and his few instructions 
of one hour availed me long afterwards ; for I had lost my book 
of pharmacy. I said the names over of my drugs, and wrote 
down the simple usage of each of them, from his lips. At his 
desire I had brought him, for a patient of his, a little laudanum 
powder ; he was too weary himself to open his field-chests. I 
enquired ' what to do if having given anyone many doses of 
that medicine to keep by him, he in ignorance swallowed them 
all together, wa yuskut el-kalb ; ' I would have said, " and 
his heart ceased to beat," but all for weariness I pronounced 
simple k, (not k with a guggle in the throat,) for heart mis- 
saying, " and the dog, is silenced." My false word tumbled 
to the mind of the pleasant hakim : after the first smiles, 
stroking down a russet beard, the algebrist composed his rising 
mirth, which he held over (I am in dread) till the morrow, 
when he should be sitting at the pasha's dish. In this there 
enters a young derwish of the Medan, a giant of stature, and 
who had very often seen me, a Frenjy, pacing in that open 
quarter of Damascus. He came in to ask men's alms, some 
biscuit for his supper ; and, having eyes seven feet above his 
heels, he stood gazing to see one so like me sitting there in the 
Haj, and in this array. " Biscuits (ozmat) are dear," quoth the 

14—2 



212 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

charitable surgeon, " but to-morrow and the day after they will 
be at better price, then I will buy, and so come thou to 
me." Carried upon camels, the price of all provisions in the 
caravan suk, is after every march enhanced or diminished as the 
Haj is nearer the midst or the ends of their journey. Ozmat 
were sold at Medain for seven times their worth at Damascus. 

Challenged civilly by the sentinels, I passed out of the camp 
to the Arabs' firelight, and came again to our Beduin bush ; 
where in the pure sand, with their camel-saddles piled against 
the wind, we had our night's shelter. In this company sat a, 
devout Fejiry, who had been to the Harameyn and now returned 
with the pilgrimage ; he was busily kneading a barley cake, 
when upon a sudden, a clear great meteor sliding under the stars, 
with luminous train, casting a broad blue gleam, drooped and 
brake before our eyes. " Eigh ! (sighed the man full of the re- 
ligious sight of Mecca) these things, my God, be past understand- 
ing, of Thy wonderful works ! " Then having raked the cake 
under the ashes, and his fingers still cloyed, he rose quickly,, 
seeing a naga staling, and ran to take water in the hollow of his 
hands and rinsed them : — their cattle's excrement is pure in the 
opinion of the nomads. Then I understood the perpetual penury 
of waters in yonder desert land, where we should come on the 
morrow. I found with our Beduins some Kasim men ; who, leav- 
ing the Syrian Haj service, would go this way home, more than 
three hundred miles, upon their feet, by Teyma and Jebel Sham- 
mar. They told me if ever I went to their country, I might 
thrive there by my medicines. " But wherefore, said they,, 
proclaim thyself Nasrany ? this thou may est do at Damascus,, 
but not in Nejd, where the people having no notice of the world, 
it will endanger thee." And as we drank round, they bade me 
call myself a " Misslim," and in my heart be still of what opinion 
I would, (this indulgence is permitted in the koran to any per- 
secuted Moslemin) — words not far from wisdom ; and I have 
often felt the iniquitous fortune of travelling thus, an outlawed 
man (and in their sight worthy of death), only for a name, in 
Arabia. It had cost me little or naught, to confess Konfuchu 
or Socrates to be apostles of Ullah ; but I could not find it in 
my life to confess the barbaric prophet of Mecca and enter,, 
under the yoke, into their solemn fools' paradise. 

At the last gunfire, before dawn, the Beduins charged their 
camels and departed. I saw by the stars our course lay much 
over to the eastward. Because the Aarab are full of all 
guile which may profit them, I had then almost a doubt of 
my company, until the light breaking I espied the B. Sokhr 
haj -carriers, coming on disorderly with their wild Beduin canti- 



AN A UDIENCE OF THE PASHA IN THE DESERT. 2 1 3 

cles ; the main body of the caravan, far in the rear, was not yet 
in sight ; I saw also the old wheel-ruts of the Jurdy cannon, 
and knew thereby certainly, that we were in the road. But 
for more surety, I dismounted to walk ; and took an oath of 
Zeyd, who yesterday had not kept touch, to ride with me before 
the Pasha. Bye and bye we had sight of the Pasha, riding far 
in front, with his officers and a few soldiery ; it was near 
Shuk el-Ajuz. I mounted then with Zeyd on his thelul, (my 
camel was sick,) and we rode to them at a round trot. Zeyd 
greeted with the noble Beduin simplicity in his deep stern tones, 
and as a landlord in his own country, " Peace be with thee." 
Mohammed Said, hearing the Beduish voice behind him, said 
only " Ho ! " again, without turning, but looking aside under the 
sun, he saw and knew me ; and immediately with good humour 
he said to my Beduin companion, — " I commit him to thee, and 
(laying the right hand over his heart,) have thou a care of 
him as of mine own eye." So he said to me, " Have you ended 
all at Medain Salih ? The epigraphs, are what ? believe you 
there be any in your countries able to read them ? And what 
of the houses ? have you not said they were no houses, but 
sepulchres ? — But have you not found any treasure ? — Good 
bye." I delayed yet, I spoke to the Pasha of the sick 
camel which Zeyd had bought for me : so he said to Zeyd, 
" Hearken ! thou shalt restore the camel to his owner, and 
require the money again ; — and (he said to me) if this Beduwy 
do not so I myself will require it of him at Damascus. — (To _ 
Zeyd) Where be now your Aarab ? " — " About a day eastward of j 
this, and the face of them is toward Teyma." The Pasha asked 
me anew, " And where are you going ? " — " To Teyma, to Hayil, 
I hope also to Kheybar." The Pasha drew a breath ; he mis- 
liked my visiting Kheybar, which is in the circuit of Medina : 
he answered, " But it is very difficult." Here Mohammed Tahir, 
who came on riding with the Pasha, said friendly, " He has the 
vaccination with him, and that will be for his security among 
the Aarab ; I saw it myself." He added, " Are all your inscrip- 
tions together in the roll which you have committed to me?" 
I answered immediately, " All are there, and I trust in God to 
show them one day to your worships at Damascus." The Pasha 
answered gravely,^ Insha 'lla, ' if the Lord will,' doubtless his 
thought was that I might very hardly return from this Arabian 
adventure. — Afterwards Zeyd, reporting the Pasha's discourse in 
the nomad tents, put in my mouth so many Beduin billahs 
(' by-Gods '), and never uttered, that I listened to him as one 
who dreams. 

Departing from them, we rode aside from the haj-road, and 



214 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 



went to fill our girby at a pool of sweet rain-water. Then enter- 
ing eastward in the wild sandstone upland Borj Selman, we 
found before us an infinite swarm of locusts, flying together and 
alighting under all the desert bushes, it is their breeding time : 
the natural office accomplished, it seems they bye and bye 
perish. As we went fasting, Zeyd found a few wild leeks and 
small tubers, thunma or sbeydy, which baked are not unlike the 
potato. He plucked also the twigs of a pleasant-tasting salad 
bush, thaluk, and wild sorrel, and offered me to eat ; and taking 
from his saddle-bags a piece of a barley-cake, he broke and 
divided it between us. " This, he said, is of our surra ; canst 
-thou eat Beduins' bread, eigh Khalil ? " The upland through 
which we passed, that they call the Borj Selman (an ancient 
name from the heroic time of the Beny Helal), is a waste land- 
breadth of gravel and sand, full of sandstone crags. This, said 
Zeyd, showing me the wild earth with his swarthy hand, is the 

j land of the Beduw. He watched to see if the townling were dis- 
couraged, in viewing only their empty desert before him. And 
he said, " Hear, Khalil ; so thou wilt live here with us, thy 
silver may be sent down to thee year by year with the Haj, and 
we will give thee a maiden to wife : if any children be born 
to thee, when thou wouldst go from hence, they shall be as 
. mine own, billah, and remain with me." — Also of his stock he 

L would give me a camel. 



[ 



CHAPTER VIII. 

THE NOMAD LIFE IN THE DESERT. 

The Fejir Beduins. 

Camel milk. Come to Zeyd's tent. Hirfa his wife. The rdhla. Only 
women labour for the household. Precious water. The rabia. " Written " rocks. 
Camels fasting from water and thriving in the. fresh season. The Nomad year. 
The camp standing where they find pasture. More of the rdhla. Alighting at 
a new camp. The Fukara encampment. Zeyd's Aarab. The " building " of 
Zeyd's tent. Zeyd's coffee-fire. The Sheykh's coffee-fire. Aarab signifies with 
them 'the people.' The Arabian nomad booth. The household stuff. God's guests. 
Zeyd's tale. Zeyd's tribe. The Turkish and English regarded as tribes. Zeyd's 
marriages. Hirfa. Hirfa's flight. Howeytdt camel -brokers. Their Beduin 
nation. Keyif. Nomad colonists. Are the Howeytdt Nabateans ? The rafxk. 
Hirfa led home again. The woman's lot among them. An old wife of Zeyd. 
Nomad motherhood. An Asiatic woman's superstition. Arabian men of a fem- 
inine aspect. Women praying. The Semitic opinion of womankind. Women 
veiled or unveiled. The woman and mother in the Hebrew law. Childbearing 
in the desert life. The old Arabian custom to bury female children living. 
The son and the daughter in the nomad household. The Nomads with difficulty 
imagine a future life. Sacrifice for the dead. Tender memory of the men for 
the deceased fathers. In the border lands women go to the graves to weep. 
Nomad children not smitten. " The lie is shameful." 

We journeyed taking turns to walk and ride, and as Zeyd 
would changing our mantles, till the late afternoon ; he doubted 
then if we might come to the Aarab in this daylight. They 
often removing, Zeyd could not tell their camping-ground within 
a dozen or score miles. One of the last night's Ageylies went 
along with us ; armed with a hammer, he drove my sick camel 
forward. As we looked for our Aarab we were suddenly in 
sight of the slow wavering bulks of camels feeding dispersedly 
under the horizon ; the sun nigh setting, they were driven in 
towards the Beduin camp, menzil, another hour distant. Come 
to the herdsmen, we alighted and sat down, and one of the lads 
receiving our bowl, ran under his nagas to milk for us. This is 



216 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

kheyr TJllah (" the Lord's bounty "), not to be withheld from 
any wayfaring man, even though the poor owners should go 
supperless themselves. A little after, my companions enquired, 
if I felt the worse; " because, said they, strangers commonly feel 
a pain after their first drinking camel-milk." This some- 
what harsh thin milk runs presently to hard curds in the 
stomach. 

In approaching the Beduin tents I held back, with the 
Ageyly, observing the desert courtesy, whilst our host Zeyd pre- 
ceded us. We found his to be a small summer or " flitting-tent ". 
which they call hejra, " built " (thus they speak) upon the desert 
sand. Poor and low it seemed, unbecoming a great sheykh, and 
there was no gay carpet spread within : here was not the welfar- 
ing which I had known hitherto, of the northern Beduins. Zeyd 
led me in with his stern smiling ; and, a little to my surprise, I 
must step after him into the woman's apartment. These some- 
time emigrated Beduins, have no suspicion of Nasranies, whom 
they have seen in the north, and heard them reputed honest folk, 
more than the Moslemin. There he presented me to his young 
wife : " Khalil (said he), here is thy new " aunt " (ammatak, — 
hostess) ; and, Hirfa, this is Khalil ; and see thou take good care 
of him." Before the morning the absent tribesmen had re- 
turned from the haj market ; the nomads lodged yet one day in 
the Borj Selman : the third morrow we removed. The height 
of this country is nearly 4500 feet. 

The removing of the camp of the Aarab, and driving 
the cattle with them from one to another pasture ground, is 
called rdhla. In their yesterday's mejlis they have determined 
whither and how early ; or was it left in the sheykh's hand, 
those in the neighbour booths watch when the day is light, to 
see if the sheykh's hareem yet strike his tent ; and, seeing this, 
it is the rahla. The Beduish housewives hasten then to pluck 
up the tent-pegs, and their booths fall ; the tent-cloth is rolled 
up, the tent-poles are gathered together and bound in a faggot : 
so they drag out the household stuff, (bestowed in worsted 
sacks of their own weaving,) to load upon the burden-camels. 
As neighbours see them and the next neighbours see those, all 
booths are presently cast in the wide dispersed menzil. The 
herdsmen now drive forward ; the hareem [plur. of horma, 
woman] mount with their baggage ; the men, with only their 
arms, sword or matchlock, hanging at the saddle-tree behind 
them, and the long lances in their hands, ride forth upon their 
theluls, they follow with the sheykh : — and this is the march of 
the nomad village. But if the sheykh's tent remain standing 
and it is already an hour past sun-rising, when their cattle 



THE NOMAD LIFE. 217 

should be dismissed to pasture, the people begin to say, " Let the 
beasts go feed then, there will be no rahla to-day." 

This dawn, about the 16th February, was blustering and 
chill in that high country. SMI, ' load now ! ' cried Zeyd ; and 
Hirfa, shivering and sighing, made up their household gear. 
♦Sheykhly husbands help not their feeble housewives to truss the 
baggage ; it were an indignity even in the women's eyes. The 
men sit on, warming themselves over any blazing sticks they have 
gathered, till the latest moment, and commonly Zeyd made 
coffee. The bearing-camels are led in and couched between 
the burdens ; only the herdsman helps Hirfa to charge them 
upon the rude pack-saddles, hadaj, a wooden frame of desert 
acacia timber, the labour of some nomad sany or Solubby. 
The underset pad of old tent-cloth, wittr, is stuffed with some 
dry herbage, and all is girded under the camel's belly with a 
simple cord. Zeyd called to help lift the loads, for they were 
over-heavy, did it grudgingly, murmuring, ' Was a sheykh 
a porter to bear burdens ? ' I also helped them to stay up the 
weighty half-loads in the sides of the saddles until both were 
laid even and coupled. Zeyd was a lordling in no contemptible 
tribe. Such a sheykh should not in men's sight put the hand 
to any drudgery ; he leaves it to his hind. A great sheykh may 
take upon him part care of his own mare, in the menzil, whilst 
the hinds are all day herding in the field ; yet having led her to 
the well, if there be any, by, of the common tribesmen the 
sheykh will call him to draw her water. Nevertheless sheykhs' 
sons whilst they are children, and later as young men armed, 
are much abroad with the tribes' cattle and companions with 
the herdsmen. I have seen Zeyd go out with a grass-hook to 
cut his mare's forage and bring again a mantle-full on his back, 
and murmuring, with woe in his black visage, it was Selim his 
son's duty : and the boy, oftentimes disobedient, he upbraided, 
calling him his life's torment, Sheytan, only never menacing 
him, for that were far from a Beduin father's mind. 

We removed hardly ten miles, and pitched four hours to the 
eastward of Dar el-Hamra. The hareem busily " build " their tents ; 
but the men, as they have alighted, are idle, that when not herd- 
ing or riding in a foray sit all day at home only lazing and lording. 
" The jowwdr (Bed. housewives), say they, are for the labour of 
the household and to be under discipline." Zeyd, with a foot- 
cast in the sand-bank where we had taken shelter from the 
gusty wind till the beyts were standing, had made an hearth ; 
then he kneeled with the Beduin cheerfulness to kindle our 
gipsy fire. Selim gathered sticks, and we sat down to warm 
ourselves and roast locusts. 



218 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Here we lodged two days, and removed anew five hours 
eastward through the same sandy moorland, with mild weather, 
and pitched in the camping-ground el-Antarieh. Sweet and 
light in these high deserts is the uncorrupt air, but the water is 
scant and infected with camel urine. Hirfa doled out to me, at 
Zeyd's commandment, hardly an ounce or two of the precious 
water every morning, that I might wash "as the townspeople."" 
She thought it unthrift to pour out water thus when all day 
the thirsty tribesmen have not enough to drink. Many times 
between their waterings, there is not a pint of water left in the 
greatest sheykhs' tents ; and when the good-man bids his house- 
wife fill the bowl to make his guests' coffee, it is answered from 
their side, " We have no water." Too much of a great sheykh's 
provision is consumed by his mare ; the horse, of all cattle in 
the desert, is most impatient of thirst. Zeyd used oftentimes 
this fair excuse, (being miserable even in the poor dispense of 
coffee,) " There is no water." Motlog the great sheykh coming 
one of these mornings to visit me, enquired first, " Hast thou drunk 
coffee ? " — " Not to-day, they say there is no water." — " What ! he 
asked, has not Zeyd made you coffee this morning ? " for even 
poorer sheykhs will not fail to serve the morrow's cup, each one 
to his own fellowship. Motlog knew his cousin Zeyd, and smiled r 
saying, " What is this, Zeyd has no water ! but, Khalil, come 
over to us, and I will make thee coffee." He led me to his 
tent, which was not far off, where, sitting at the hearth, and 
being himself the sheykh of his tribe, he roasted, brayed and 
boiled, and prepared this cup of hospitality for the Christian 
stranger. In that place it chanced Zeyd to lose a camel, which had 
been frayed by wolves. He mounted his mare at the morrow's 
light, and rode forth with the long shivering horseman's lance 
upon his shoulder to follow her traces. The day after Zeyd 
returned to us, driving in his lost beast : he had found her near 
Birket Moaddam. 

After three days the Aarab removed south-eastward twelve 
miles, and pitched at the camping-ground Khussherktsh. It 
was now the 22nd February, and we found here the rabia, or 
new spring of sweet blossoming herbage ; the most was of wild 
rape kind, pimpernel and sorrel, humsis. The rabia is the 
yearly refreshment, nay, the life, of the nomads' cattle. Delightful 
to the eye, in the desert land, was that poor faery garden of 
blossoms. When the Beduins saw me pensive, to admire the 
divine architecture of those living jewels, they thought it but 
childish fondness in the stranger. If I did but ask the names 
of the simples it was roughly answered, " The name of them all 
is el-usshb, ' the spring forage,' very good for our small cattle 



THE SPRING PASTURE. 219 

and camels." This high droughty country is plain for some 
days' journeys ; mostly sand soil and sandstone gravel, without 
furrows of seyls or wadies ; it is an upland, which in the light 
Arabian rains never runs down with water. 

Zeyd knew that at el-Hejr I transcribed inscriptions. There 
are many scored in the cliffs of the desert, and he said, " To- 
morrow, we will walk down to M'kuttaba" there he would show 
me a multitude. Makuttaba is a natural cistern in the sand 
rocks, and named (as the " Written Valley " in Sinai) because those 
cliffs are overwritten with a thousand legends scored in wild 
Himyaric letters : every one is but a line or twain, idle names 
perhaps of ancient waterers, with many antique images of 
camels. The soft rock is much corroded, there is seldom any 
legible inscription ; it is common thus to find them about 
desert waterings, which were at all times loitering places. The 
antique nomads, — for by likelihood so rude inscriptions were 
theirs, had then (which to-day have not the Mohammedan Bedu- 
ins) a knowledge of letters ? or were all these the handiwork of 
ancient passengers ? The antique outlined images are all round 
and lively, though somewhat long drawn. The Beduins now-a- 
days portray only such squalid effigies (left by idle herdsmen 
upon the desert rocks), as we see of children's scrawling. Zeyd 
called the inscriptions Temathil el-Helaldt, " Imagerv of Beny 
Helal." . . . 

The camels now feeding of the sappy rabia were jezzin or 
'not drinking.' In good spring years they are in these diras 
almost two and a half months jezzin, and not driven to the 
watering. Then the force of life is spent of the herb lately 
so fresh upon the ground, and withering under the sun it is 
dried up. If, after some shower, the great drinkless cattle find 
rain-water lodged in any hollow rocks, I have seen them slow 
to put down their heavy long necks ; so they snuff to it, and 
bathing but the borders of their flaggy lips, blow them out and 
shake the head again as it were with loathing. The nomads r 
camels are strong and frolic in these fat weeks of the spring 
pasture. Now it is they lay up flesh, and grease in their 
humps, for the languor of the desert summer and the long 
year. Driven home full-bellied at sunset, they come hugely 
bouncing in before their herdsmen : the householders, going forth 
from the booths, lure to them as they run lurching by, with loud 
Wolloo-wolho-wolloo, and to stay them Woh-ho, wbh-ho, wbh-ho ! 
they chide any that strikes a tent-cord with hutch ! The 
camels are couched every troop beside, about, and the more 



220 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

of them before the booth of their household ; there all night 
they he ruckling and chawing their huge cuds till the light 
of the morrow. The Aarab say that their camels never sleep ; 
the weary brute may stretch down his long neck upon the 
ground, closing awhile his great liquid eyes ; but after a space 
he will right again the great languid carcase and fall to chawing. 
In this fresh season they rise to graze anew in the moonlight, 
and roam from the booths of the slumbering Aarab ; but fear- 
ful by nature, they stray not then very far off. Sometimes 
wakening after midnight and seeing our camels strayed, I went 
out to bring them in ; but the Beduins said, " Sleep on, Khalil, 
there is no cause ; let them go feeding as they will." They 
would see them pasture now all they can ; but not seldom they 
are bereaved thus of their cattle by prowling night-robbers. 
Camels, the only substance of the nomads, are the occasion 
of all their contending. " NesMl, we load, say they, upon 
them, and we drink halib, the milk, of them." The cows 
go twelve months with young ; now was their time of calv- 
ing, which falls at the beginning of the rabia. The nomad 
year is divided in this sort : er-rabia, springtime of three 
months ; el-gdyth, midsummer, three months ; es-sferry, fall of 
the year, three months ; es-shitd (pronounce es-stita), winter. 
To be a ready man in this kind of lore, is clerkship with the 
Beduw, and to have a wayfarer's knowledge of the stars. 
When they found good pasture the Beduins encamped, and we 
lodged upon that ground mostly till the third or fourth mor- 
row. The nomads dwelling, the day over, in any place, they 
say "el- Aarab um]emmin" (j for k guttural), or the camp is 
standing. The herdsmen bring word of the pasture about them, 
and as the sheykhs determine in the mejlis the people will 
remove again, it was commonly to twelve or thirteen miles 
distance ; and now their " face was toward " Teyma. 

If the rahla be short the Beduw march at leisure, the 
while their beasts feed under them. The sheykhs are riding to- 
gether in advance, and the hareem come riding in their trains 
of baggage camels ; if aught be amiss the herdsmen are nigh at 
hand to help them : neighbours will dismount to help neighbours 
and even a stranger. The great and small cattle are driven 
along with their households. You shall see housewives dis- 
mount, and gossips walk on together barefoot (all go here 
unshod,) and spinning beside their slow-pacing camels. But 
say the Beduin husbands, " We would have the hareem ride 
always and not weary themselves, for their tasks are many at 
home." The Fukara women alighted an hour before noon, in 
the march, to milk their few ewes and goats. Every family 



ZEYD'S AABAB. 221 

and kindred are seen wayfaring by themselves with their cattle. 
The Aarab thus wandering are dispersed widely ; and in the 
vast uneven ground (the most plain indeed but full of crags), 
although many hundreds be on foot together, commonly we 
see only those which go next about us. The Beduins coming 
near a stead where they will encamp, Zeyd returned to us ; and 
where he thought good there struck down the heel of his tall 
horseman's lance shelfa or romhh, stepping it in some sandy 
desert bush : this is the standard of Zeyd's fellowship, — 
they that encamp with him, and are called his people. Hirfa 
makes her camel kneel ; she will ' build ' the booth there : 
the rest of Zeyd's kindred and clients coming up, they alight , 
each family going a little apart, to pitch their booths about him. 
This is " Zeyd's menzil " and the people are Zeyd's Aarab. The 
bearing-camels they make to kneel under their burdens with 
the guttural voice, ikh-kh-kh ! The stiff neck of any reluctant 
brute is gently stricken down with the driving-stick or an hand 
is imposed upon his heavy halse ; any yet resisting is plucked 
by the beard ; then without more he will fall groaning to his 
knees. Their loads discharged, and the pack-saddles lifted, 
with a spurn of the master's foot the bearing-camels rise heavily 
again and are dismissed to pasture. The housewives spread 
the tent-cloths, taking out the corner and side-cords ; and 
finding some wild stone for a hammer, they beat down their 
tent pegs into the ground, and under-setting the tent-stakes or 
" pillars " (am' dan) they heave and stretch the tent-cloth : and 
now their booths are standing. The wife enters, and when she 
has bestowed her stuff, she brings forth the man's breakfast : 
that is a bowl of leban, poured from the sour milk-skin, or it 
is a clot of dates with a bowl of the desert water : for guest- 
days it is dates and buttermilk with a piece of sweet butter. 
After that she sits within, rocking upon her knees the semila or 
sour milk-skin, to make this day's butter. 

As Zeyd so is every principal person of these Beduins, the 
chief of a little menzil by itself : the general encampment is 
not disposed (as is the custom of the northern Aarab) in any 
formal circuit. The nomads of these marches pitch up and 
down in all the " alighting place " at their own pleasure. The 
Fejir or Fukara never wandered in ferjdn (j for k guttural) 
or nomad hamlets, dispersedly after their kindreds, which is 
everywhere the nomad manner, for the advantage of pasture ; 
but they journey and encamp always together. And cause was 
that, with but half-friends and those mostly outraged upon their 
borders, or wholly enemies, there were too many reckonings 
required of them ; and their country lies open. Zeyd's Aarab 



222 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

were six booths : a divorced wife's tent, mother of his young and 
only son, was next him ; then the tent of another cast-off house- 
wife, mother of a ward of his, Settam, and by whom he had 
himself a daughter ; and besides these, (Zeyd had no near 
kinsfolk,) a camel-herd with the old hind his father, of Zeyd's 
father's time, and the shepherd, with their alliance. Forlorn per- 
sons will join themselves to some sheykh's menzil, and there was 
with us an aged widow, in wretchedness, who played the mother 
to her dead daughter's fatherless children, a son so deformed that 
like a beast he crept upon the sand [ya latif, " oh happy sight ! " 
said this most poor and desolate grandam, with religious irony, 
in her patient sighing] — and an elf -haired girl wonderfully foul- 
looking. Boothless, they led their lives under the skies of God, 
the boy was naked as he came into the desert world. The 
camel upon which they rode was an oblation of the common 
charity ; but what were their daily food only that God knoweth 
which feedeth all life's creatures. There is no Beduwy so impious 
that will chide and bite at such, his own tribesfolk, or mock 
those whom God has so sorely afflicted ; nor any may repulse 
them wheresoever they will alight in the common wilderness 
soil. Sometimes there stood a stranger's booth among us, of 
nomad passengers or an household in exile from the neigh- 
bour tribesmen : such will come in to pitch by a sheykh of 
their acquaintance. 

Hirfa ever demanded of her husband toward which part 
should " the house " be built. " Dress the face, Zeyd would 
answer, to this part," showing her with his hand the south, for if 
his booth's face be all day turned to the hot sun there will come 
in fewer young loitering and parasitical fellows that would be 
his coffee-drinkers. Since the sheukh, or heads, alone receive 
their tribe's surra, it is not much that they should be to 
the arms coffee-hosts. I have seen Zeyd avoid as he saw 
them approach, or even rise ungraciously upon such men's 
presenting themselves, (the half of every booth, namely the 
men's side, is at all times open, and any enters there that will, 
in the free desert,) and they murmuring he tells them, wellah, 
his affairs do call him forth, adieu, he must away to the mejlis, go 
they and seek the coffee elsewhere. But were there any sheykh 
with them, a coffee lord, Zeyd could not honestly choose 
but abide and serve them with coffee ; and if he be absent 
himself, yet any sheykhly man coming to a sheykh's tent, 
coffee must be made for him, except he gently protest, ' billah, 
he would not drink.' Hirfa, a sheykh's daughter and his 
nigh kinswoman, was a faithful, make to Zeyd in all his sparing 
policy. 



COFFEE MAKING. 



223 



Our menzil now standing, the men step over to Zeyd's 
coffee-fire, if the sheykh be not gone forth to the mejlis to drink 
his mid-day cup there. A few gathered sticks are flung down 
beside the hearth : with flint and steel one stoops and strikes 
fire in tinder, he blows and cherishes those seeds of the cheerful 
flame in some dry camel-dung, sets the burning sherd under dry 
straws, and powders over more dry camel- dung. As the fire 
kindles, the sheykh reaches for his delicti, coffee-pots, which are 
carried in the fatya, coffee-gear basket ; this people of a nomad 
life bestow each thing of theirs in a proper beyt, it would other- 
wise be lost in their daily removing. One rises to go fill up the 
pots at the water-skins, or a bowl of water is handed over the 
curtain from the woman's side ; the pot at the fire, Hirfa reaches 
over her little palm-full of green coffee-berries. We sit in a 
half ring about the hearth ; there come in perhaps some ac- 
quaintance or tribesmen straying between the next menzils. 
Zeyd prepared coffee at the hours ; afterward, when he saw in me 
little liking of his coffee-water, he went to drink the cup abroad. 
If he went not to the mejlis, he has hidden himself two or three 
hours like an owl, or they would say as a dog, in my little close 
tent, although intolerably heated through the thin canvas in the 
mid-day sun. It was a mirth to see Zeyd lie and swelter, and 
in a trouble of mind bid us report to all comers that ' Zeyd was 
from home ' : and where his elvish tribesmen were merry as 
beggars to detect him. Mukkarin el-Beduw ! " the nomads (say 
the settled x\rabs) are full of wily evasions." 

The sheykhs and principal persons assemble at the great 
sheykh's or another chief tent, when they have alighted upon 
any new camping-ground ; there they drink coffee, the most 
holding yet the camel-stick, mishaab, mehjdn or bakhorra, as a 
sceptre, (a usage of the ancient world,) in their hands. The few 
first questions among them are commonly of the new disposi- 
tions of their several menzils : as, " Rahf/el ! (the sheykh's 
brother), fen ahl-ak? where be thy people (pitched)? — Eth- 
Therryeh (the sheykh's son), fen ahl-ak ? — Mehsan (a good 
simple man, and who had married Zeyd's only sister,) — Khdlaf 
and the rest, where be your menzils ? — Zeyd is not here ! who 
has seen Zeyd ? — and Mijivel, where are his Aarab ? " for every 
new march displaces these nomads, and few booths in the 
shortness of the desert horizon are anywhere in sight. You 
see the Beduins silent whilst coffee is being made ready, for all 
their common talk has been uttered an hundred times already, 
and some sit beating the time away and for pastime limning 
with their driving-sticks in the idle sand. They walk about 
with these gay sticks, in the daytime : but where menzils are 



224 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 



far asunder, or after nightfall, they carry the sword in their 
hands : the sword is suspended with a cord from the shoulder. 
The best metal is the Ajamy, a little bent with a simple crossed 
hilt (beautiful is the form), wound about with metal wire ; next 
to the Persian they reckon the Indian blade, el-Hindy. 

In nomad ears this word, Aarab, signifies " the people.'* 
Beduin passengers when they meet with herdsmen in the 
desert enquire, Fen el- Aarab ? " where is the folk ? " Of the 
multitude of nomad tribes east and west, they say in plural 
wise, el-Arbdn. This other word, Beduin, received into all our 
languages, is in the Arabian speech Beduwy, that is to say in- 
habitant of the waste, (bddia,) in the plural Bedauwy (au dipth.), 
but commonly el-Beduw. As we sit, the little cup, of a few black 
drops, is served twice round. When they have swallowed those 
boiling sips of coffee-water, and any little news has been related 
among them, the men rise one after other to go home over the 
hot sand : all are barefoot, and very rarely any of those Aarab has 
a pair of sandals. So everyone is come again to his own, they say 
the mid-day prayers ; and when they have breakfasted, they will 
mostly slumber out the sultry mid-day hours in their house- 
wife's closed apartment. I have asked an honest wife, " How 
may your lubbers slug out these long days till evening ? " and 
she answered, demurely smiling, " How, sir, but in solace with 
the hareem ! " 

The hejra, or small flit ting-tent, laid out by the housewife, 
with its cords stretched to the pins upon the ground, before the 
am'dan or props be set up under, is in this form : 




to every pair of cords, is a pair of stakes ; there are three stakes 
to every pair of cords in the waist of the tent. Greater booths 
are stayed by more pairs of waist-cords, and stand upon taller 
staves. The Aarab tent, which they call the beyt [pi. byiit] 
es-sliaar, "abode, booth, or house of hair," that is of black 



THE NOMAD TENT. 



22 5 



worsted or hair- cloth, has, with its pent roof, somewhat the 
Form of a cottage. The tent-stuff, strong and rude, is defended 
by a list sewed under at the heads of the am'dan, and may- 
last out, they say, a generation, only wearing thinner : but 
when their roof-cloth is threadbare it is a feeble shelter, 
thrilled by the darting beams of the Arabian sun, and cast- 
ing only a grey shadow. The Arabian tent strains strongly 
upon all the staves, and in good holding-ground, may resist 
the boisterous blasts which happen at the crises of the year, 
especially in some deep mountainous valleys. Even in weak 
sand the tents are seldom overblown. Yet the cords, tunb 
el-beyt, which are worsted-twist of the women's spinning, oft- 
times burst : who therefore (as greater sheykhs) can spend 
silver, will have them of hempen purchased in the town. In 
all the road tribes, they every year receive rope, with certain 
clothing and utensils, on account of their haj surra. The tent- 
stuff is seamed of narrow lengths of the housewives' rude 
worsted weaving ; the yarn is their own spinning, of the 
mingled wool of the sheep and camels' and goats' hair together. 
Thus it is that the cloth is blackish : we read in the Hebrew 
Scripture, " Black as the tents of Kedar." Good webster- wives 
weave in white borders made of their sheep's wool, or else of 
their gross-spun cotton yarn (the cotton wool is purchased from 
Medina or the sea coast). 

When the tent-cloth is stretched upon the stakes, to this 
roof they hang the tent-curtains, often one long skirt-cloth 
which becomes the walling of the nomad booth : the selvedges 
are broached together with wooden skewers. The booth front 
is commonly left open, to the half at least we have seen, for 
the mukaad or men's sitting-room : the other which is the 
women's and household side, is sometimes seen closed (when 
they would not be espied, whether sleeping or cooking,) with 
a fore-cloth ; the woman's part is always separated from the 
men's apartment by a hanging, commonly not much more than 
]b~reast or neck high, at the waist-poles of the tent. The 
mukaad is never fenced in front with a tent-cloth, only in rain 
they incline the am'dan and draw down the tent eaves lower. 
The nomad tents are thus very ill lodging, and the Beduins, 
clothed no better than the dead, suffer in cold and stormy 
weather. In winter they sometimes load the back-cloth ground- 
hem with great stones, and fence their open front at the 
men's side with dry bushes. The tent side-cloths can be shifted 
according to the wind and sun : thus the back of the Beduin 
booth may become in a moment the new front. A good house- 
wife will bethink herself to unpin and shift the curtain, that 
d. t. 15 



226 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 



her husband's guests may have shadow and the ^air, or shelter. 
— In the picture are shown a sheykh's and a widow's tents of 
Billi Beduw in the Tehama 




Upon the side of the hareem, that is the household apart- 
ment, is stored all their husbandry. At the woman's curtain 
stand the few tent-cloth sacks of their poor baggage, el-gush : 
in these is bestowed their corn and rice if they have any % 



THE WOMAN'S APABTMENT. 227 

certain lumps of rock-salt, for they will eat nothing insipid ; 
also the housewife's thrift of wool and her spun yarn, — to be 
a good wool-wife is honourable among Aarab women ; and some 
fathoms perhaps of new calico. There may be with the rest 
a root of ern or tan wood, the scarlet chips are steeped 
in water, and in two or three days, between rahlas, they 
cure therein their goat-skins for girbies and semilies, besides 
the leather for watering-buckets, watering-troughs and other 
nomad gear. The poorest wife will have some box, (commonly, 
a fairing from the town,) in which are laid up her few house- 
hold medicines, her comb and her mirror, merguba, her poor 
inherited ornaments, the ear-rings and nose-ring of silver or even 
golden (from the former generations) ; and with these any 
small things of her husband's, (no pockets are made in their 
clothing,) which she has in her keeping. But if her good-man 
be of substance, a sheykh of surra, for his bundle of reals and 
her few precious things she has a locked coffer painted with 
vermilion from Medina, which in the rahla is trussed (also a 
mark of sheykhly estate) upon her bearing-camel. — Like to this, 
I have mused, might be that ark of things sacred to the public 
religion, which was in the nomad life of B. Israel. 

Commonly the housewife's key of her box is seen as a glitter- 
ing pendant, upon her veil backward ; and hangs, with her thimble 
and pincers, (to pluck the thorns out of their bare soles,) by 
a gay scarlet lace, from the circlet of the head-band. Their 
clotted dates, if they have any, are stived in heavy pokes of 
camel-hide, that in the rahla are seen fluttering upon the 
bearing-cattle with long thongs of leather. This apparel of 
fringes and tassels is always to the Semitic humour ; of the like 
we read in Moses, and see them in the antique Jewish sculp- 
tures. Of their old camel sack-leather, moisty with the juice of 
the dates, they cut the best sandals. The full-bellied sweating 
water-skins are laid, not to fret at the ground, upon fresh 
sprays of broom or other green in the desert ; amongst all stands 
the great brazen pot, Jidda, tinned within by the nomad smith, 
or by the artificer in their market village. They boil in it 
their butter, (when they have any, to make samn,) and their 
few household messes ; they seethe the guest-meal therein in 
the day of hospitality. 

The Aarab byut shaar are thus tents of hair-cloth made 
housewise. The " houses of hair " accord with that sorry land- 
scape ! Tent is the Semitic house : their clay house is. built in 
like manner ; a public hall for the men and guests, and an inner 
woman's and household apartment. Like to this was Moses* 

15—2 



228 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

adorned house of the nomad God in the wilderness. Also the 
firmament, in the Hebrew prophet, is a tabernacle of the one 
household of God's creation. These flitting-houses in the 
wilderness, dwelt in by robbers, are also sanctuaries of " God's 
guests," theuf Ullah, the passengers and who they be that 
haply alight before them. Perilous rovers in the field, the 
herdsmen of the desert are kings at home, fathers of hospitality 
to all that seek to them for the night's harbour. "Be we not 
all, say the poor nomads, guests of Ullah ? " Has God given 
unto them, God's guest shall partake with them thereof: if 
they will not for God render His own, it should not go well 
with them. The guest entered, and sitting down amongst them, 
they observe an honourable silence, asking no untimely questions, 
(such is school and nurture of the desert,) until he have eaten 
or drunk somewhat at the least, and by " the bread and salt " there 
is peace established between them, for a time (that is counted 
two nights and the day in the midst, whilst their food is in him). 
Such is the golden world and the " assurance of Ullah " in the 
midst of the wilderness : travelled Beduins are amazed to see 
the sordid inhospitality of the towns ; — but where it were im- 
possible that the nomad custom should hold. 

Zeyd told us one day his old chance at Damascus (the tribe 
was then in the North) ; and how he had disputed in this sense 
with a government man (Dowlany) of late, some Haj officer, 
Whether were nigher unto God the life of townsfolk or of the 
Aarab. — Officer : " Some of you neither pray nor fast, the 
Beduw are incessantly riding in forays ; ye are manslayers for a 
little booty, and violent reavers of other men's goods. God wot, 
and though your mouths confess the Prophet, ye be little better 
than the kuffdr (heathen, — Jews and Christians). Ye discern 
not betwixt the haldl and the harrdm ; but we, knowing the 
good and the evil, are the better Moslemin." Zeyd : " All this 
I can grant ; but hearken ! a stranger alighting at a Beduin 
booth, we welcome him, and are busy to serve him and we 
prepare the guest-supper ; and when he has eaten, in the same 
place he sleeps, in the assurance of Ullah, and with the morning 
light he rises up refreshed to hold on his journey. But ha ! 
when I came to es-Sham, riding upon my thelul, it was an 
evening (at the supping hour), and passing weary and hungry 
by the suk, I alighted before some door where I thought to 
take my night-lodging. As I knocked, one cries within, Min ? 
Who ? who ? I answered ' Thaif ! (a guest) and thou behind 
the door, open quickly ! ' But the voice said, ' thou which 
standest knocking, seek further down the suk, where is many 
a house, and there is nothing here ; go in peace, good man.' 



THE MERIT OF HOSPITALITY. 229 

This is the manner with them all, and they are not ashamed, 
billah! Then, not having tasted food that day (the wayfaring 
nomad eats not till his alighting), I lay me down in the dust of 
your street, slain with hunger and seeking to slumber. This 
is their dealing with strangers which enter your towns ! — And 
wellah the Dowlany allowed our life to be nigher unto God, 
because of the hospitality." So much they hold of this godly 
human virtue, as wherein a man may be just before the 
" Bountiful Ullah," and like to a poor player of the Divine 
Providence. With all this, there lacks not Arabic hospitality 
in the good city of Damascus ; it is little less than I have 
afterwards seen in the upland Arabian towns. There are 
worthy sheykhs in the Medan, that village quarter of es-Shem, 
men of the antique simplicity, which keep nearly the open 
hospitality of the outlying villages. 

This sheykh's name at the full is Zeyd es-Sbeychan el-Fejiry ; 
this signifies son of Sbeyk(ch)an, of the fendy or kindred el- 
Fejir, which is in their tribe the kinship of sheykhs ; after the 
now common custom, the name of the sheykhly kin is attributed 
to the tribe. The Fejir [j for k guttural, but in the pi. form 
el-Fukara] are last to the north of the Ahl Gibly or Southern 
Aarab. Their fendies are Sdlih or el-Fejir (all sheykhs), eh 
Moghrassib, Zudra, Hamddn, Hejur, Aindt, 'Sgoora; and the 
plebeian fendy, since grown almost to half of the ashirat (tribe), 
el-Khamdla. This tribe's old sheykhly name is the Mendbaha, 
from whom also el-Hosseny, now Arabs of the north near 
Aleppo, and of them is the lately famous princely family of 
East Nejd, Ibn Saud, the Wahaby. — Thus say the Fukara : it 
is otherwise said, in Nejd, that Ibn Saud is of Beny Hanifa, 
ancient Arabs, also of Annezy, in the wady of that name, since 
the time of Mohammed. Ishmaelites, yet fetch they partly 
their Annezy stock, — so do also their neighbours and capital 
foemen Maazy or Beny Atieh — in the female line from Kahtdn, 
the noble southern blood of Arabia (Moses' Yoktan, if you will 
trust the Ullema). Wail (the common jid or patriarch) is 
the son of Ntishud el-Jemal and a Kahtanite woman ; his sons 
are Andz and Maaz, fathers of the noble Ishmaelite nation 
Annezy, greatest of all Arabian ashirats that now are, and 
Maazy. Musslim, a son of Andz, is ancestor of the Beny 
Wdhab, which are the Menab'ha, to-day el-Hosseny, el-Fejir, 
and the Welad Aly : also the Bishr, Jellas and Kuwalla, all 
Annezy, are sometimes counted to B. Wahab : — thus Zeyd. 
Fendies of W. Aly in the south are et-Todla, (most numerous), 
then Thueyba, Taifdt, Umshitta, 'Mraikhan, Jebbdra, Erbeyldi, 
Khdlid ; the sheykhs are Alldyda. 



230 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 



The waste circuit of the Fukara begins about Dar el-Hamra 
and reaches to Bir el-Ghrannem : it is not less wide from the 
derb el-haj eastward to the mountain Birrd, at the border of 
Nejd. This is as much as certain of our English counties ; and 
they are nearly eight hundred souls. Their tents are two hun- 
dred ; I have been able to survey them at once, when we were 
summering later about the wells of el-Hejr. Small is these 
nomads' horizon ; few of them know much land beyond their own 
diras or out of common ways, as the paths to Hayil their political 
or Medina their religious metropolis. In distant forays they must 
hire a dalil or land-pilot to ride with them ; he is commonly 
some former exile or guest in that country of which he will now 
betray the hospitality. Seldom (as in any general migrations) 
do they come to a knowledge of strange diras. The whole 
world they can hardly imagine to be other than their Arabian 
sun-stricken wilderness, with little water and few palm-villages, 
with perhaps some populous border city, as Mecca. Nomad 
children have bid me tell them ' how many were the camels of 
ed-Dowla ? ' The Ottoman Empire they could only think to be a 
tribe, whereof they see the Haj descending by them every year. 
The eldest son of the great W. Aly sheykh, who may live to be 
the head of that tribe after him, a wooden-headed young man, 
having enquired of me in which part of the world lay the dirat 
of the Engleys, would know further the name of our market 
village ; and said earnestly, " Tell me, Kkalil, the names of the 
tribes your foemen : " if he heard them he thought he might 
happen to know them. He could understand that we were kafirs, 
but not that we should be other than the tribes of Arabs. 

And now to speak of Zeyd's household. He had another 
wife, but she was fled from him — this is common, in their male 
tyranny of many marriages — and now dwelt in her mother's 
tribe, the Bishr ; they were pasturing nigh before us in this 
wilderness. Zeyd rode over to his neighbours, and with pleasant 
promises, which well he knew to forge and feign, he wooed her 
home again. A sheykh told me she was beautiful, " she has 
egg-great eyes ; " but that, when I saw her, was all her pallid 
beauty. The returned wife would not pitch with us where 
jealous Hirfa was, but " built " her booth with some kindred in 
another menzil. Zeyd and Hirfa were next cousins ; Hirfa was 
a sheykh's orphan, whom it seems he had taken partly for her 
few inherited camels. Hirfa was an undergrown thick Beduin 
lass, her age might be twenty ; the golden youth was faded al- 
most to autumn in her childish face, but not unpleasing ; there 
was a merry wooden laughter always in her mouth, which ended 



HIBFA. 



231 



commonly, from the unsatisfied heart, in sighing. ' The woman 
sighs (says the proverb) who has an ill husband.' Hirfa sighed 
for motherhood : she had been these two years with an husband 
and was yet bint, as the nomads say, ' in her girlhood ; ' and 
she wept inwardly with a Semitic woman's grief. Zeyd and 
Hirfa were as Isaac and Kebecca ; with the Beduin simplicity 
they sat daily sporting lovingly together before us, for we were 
all one family and friendly eyes, but oftentimes in the midst 
Hirfa pouted ; then Zeyd would coldly forsake her, and their 
souls were anew divided. Hirfa in her weary spirit desired 
some fresh young husband, instead of this palled Zeyd, that she 
mistrusted could not give her children. Again and again they 
bade the Christian stranger deliver judgment of their fruitless 
marriage, whether it had been lawful, as betwixt brothers' 
children. Hirfa, a testy little body, of her high birth in sheykhs' 
booths was a sheykha among the hareem, and so even by the 
men regarded ; all the principal sheukh were her nigh kinsmen. 
In the Arabian small tribes and villages there is a perpetual 
mingling of kindred blood : to-day after so many generations 
who may think this Semitic race has been impaired thereby ? — 
but truly we see not few brain-sick and cripples amongst them. 

Self-minded, a bold-faced wench, mistress Hirfa cast as she 
should not a pair of eyes upon their herdsman, a likely young 
man, whom in her husband's absence she wooed openly and in 
Zeyd's despite ; but he was prudent, and faithful to his sheykh's 
service. Here, and though bordering the jealous Hejaz and 
the austere Wahaby Nejd, the Fukara women go open-faced, 
and (where all are kindred) I could never perceive amongst them 
any jealousy of the husbands. In this tribe of date-eaters, there 
was not almost a well-grown man, besides the sheykh Motlog 
and his sons, nor any comely woman. Zeyd would tame his 
little wilful wife ; and upon a time he corrected her with the 
rod in the night. 

The comedy of Hirfa and Zeyd was become matter of daily 
raillery in the mejlis of the coffee-drinking sheukh their cousins ; 
where, arriving alone, I might hear them say, " Eigh ! here 
comes Khalil : marhabba, welcome, Khalil ; make place for 
Khalil ; pass up, Khalil, and sit thou here beside me." — " Well 
met, Khalil ! but where is thine uncle Zeyd to-day ? " — " Zeyd is 
zahldn, or melancholy ; he lies in this mood wilfully slumbering 
out the day at home : " — in the lands of the sun men willingly 
sleep out their sorrow. " But tell us, knowst thou was Hirfa 
beat ? what news to-day ? Khalil, do you love your uncle ? " One 
said who did not love him (Khdlaf Allayda, an exile, of the 
sheukh of W. Aly), " Zeyd is not a man, who beats his wife ; it 



23 2 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

is a marra, woman, that wilj strike a marra ; do your people 
so, Khalil ? " I answered, " Nay, surely ; unless it be some un- 
gracious wretch." And he, " It is thus amongst us Beduw, ayb, 
a shame, wellah." The wales of Zeyd's driving-stick were 
ever in her stubborn little spirit ; and at the next alighting 
from a rahla, when she had hastily built the booth and Zeyd 
was walked to the mejlis, leaving all, Hirfa ran back embittered 
into the wilderness. A devout Beduin of our menzil, he of the 
meteors, held awhile her two little hands, beseeching her to 
return to her patience ; but, a Sheykh's daughter, she would not 
be held and peevishly she broke from him. 

Of a disaffected Beduin wife, such is the public remedy ; to 
show herself to be alienated from her husband, and ready to 
forsake his wedlock and household, thus putting upon him a 
common scorn, because he will not dismiss her. There followed 
after Hirfa, as soon as he heard the tidings, her next kinsman 
of the mother's side, one that resembled Hirfa as if he had been 
her brother : she was running like an ostrich alone in the wild 
desert. An hour passed till he led her home to us, and left her 
again sorrowful at her own and Zeyd's tent. " Ha, Khalil," said 
he, " what wilt thou give me now that I have fetched in thine 
aunt again, who pours thee out leban and water ? and (showing 
me his cutlass), Wellah, I have brought her bes-seyf by con- 
straint of the sword." Zeyd, displeased, now ranged some nights 
to his Bishr wife's booth ; and jealous Hirfa, not suffering this 
new despite, another day, even in the presence of strangers, 
Zeyd's guests, fled forth in the gall of her heart from the newly 
pitched tent when the people alighted at a menzil ; Zeyd sat 
on, as a man aggrieved, only looking after her, but not hindering 
(in their eyes it had been unseemly, that man's life is free). 
The fugitive Beduin wife has good leave to run whithersoever 
she would ; she is free as the desert, there is none can detain 
her. Hirfa hied then to her mother's kindred, and sat down, all 
sighs, in her aunt's booth ; and in what beyt soever a running 
wife have taken refuge, not her own wedded husband may 
honestly appear to reclaim his part in her. 

The strangers departed, and Zeyd sat by his now desolate 
booth in long heaviness of mind ; but to show any lively re- 
sentment, only by occasion of a woman, had been ill nurture 
and unmanly. He stretched himself upon the sand to sleep 
out his grief, and slumbered with his head in the scalding 
sun. The nomads make religion, to observe this mildness and 
forbearance in the household life ! " God's peace " is in that 
parcel of the great and terrible wilderness, which is shadowed by 
every poor herdsman's booth. Bye and bye I shook him and 



HIRFA'S FLIGHT. 



233 



said, " It is not good so to sleep and swoon in the sun." We 
went then together to seek coffee at the mejlis, where, some 
malicious ones smiling at his sadness and new troubled looks, 
Zeyd complained in his great, now untoned voice, ' that he had 
no longer an household, — unless it were that Khalil (their guest) 
would fetch Hirfa home.' Every tiding is presently wide blown 
in all the open tents of a nomad menzil, and there is no idle 
tale that will not ride upon the tongues, light as leaves, of witless 
Beduins, to drive the empty hours. 

The common voice blamed Hirfa's second flight : " How, they 
said, abandon Zeyd's tent in the presence of guests, and they 
were strangers ! " — " Ha ! " there answered an aged mother of our 
menzil to the old hind her husband, " dost hear, Salih ? The 
hareem be good for little now-a-days, — ay, billah ! I say they are 
all corrupted-like ; but it be only myself !" Those strangers were 
certain Howeytat (Terabin) Beduw and merchants, from the 
Syrian seabord desert, under Gaza, and who every spring-time 
return hither, as camel-brokers, among the Aarab. They passing 
by us in the end of the rahla, Zeyd had called them from his 
menzil to alight with him and rest themselves. They sat down 
on the sand, whilst the tents were building, and he brought them 
forth the mid-day commons of their wretched country, a bowl of 
musty dates and another of the foul desert water. They, seeing 
this hap of the host's renegade wife, as men that could their 
courtesy, dispatched themselves and rising from the slender 
breakfast, gave thanks ; yet a little with that unhandsome 
citizens' humility which is not in the easy carriage of the 
nomads : Beduins bless the host and yield their thanks unto 
Ullah ; but these were border countrymen, and had almost the 
daunted looks of townspeople, in the deep wilderness. They 
purchase only of the best beasts : although they bid high prices 
the Aarab are never very willing to sell them. The camel they 
think is a profitable possession, a camel will bring forth the 
camel, but money is barren good that passes quite away in the 
using. Commonly they will sell of their beasts only when they 
have some present need of reals, and then sooner of the males : 
but they are the better for carriage. 

For robust he-camels of good stature was paid, by the 
brokers, as much as fifty reals ; the half told in the hand, the rest 
is counted out in calico, which the nomad may readily sell away 
again, for shirt-cloths, in the desert. This the traders brought 
from Syria ; and, selling here at the price of Teyma, they gain 
for their risks and charges not above the fourth part. The 
purchased camels they will sell again in Egypt and Syria. 
Such brokers travel, most years, through all parts of the upland 



234 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Arabia, to buy for the border-countries, and thereby the price of 
camels had been doubled within few years ; it is now almost 
one throughout the northern country : and any need rising 
in the border lands, as for a war declared with Abyssinia, 
Arabia might be searched in few weeks by these emissaries, and, 
an advance offered, there could be brought forth many thou- 
sands of camels. But this is very costly carriage in an expe- 
dition, since six camels' backs must be set under every ton 
burden. 

The Howeytat asked me what I did there in that Beduin 
world ? I told them I had visited their country, and lodged 
in their circle-villages of tents, and seen how they plough the 
wild sand with camels. " To-morrow's dawn (said they, friendly) 
we ride homeward. Were it not better for thee to return 
with us ? " 

The Howeytat nation inhabit all the wilderness country 
above the Sinai Peninsula betwixt the two seas and deep 
inland : they come down in the Tehama border, by the Ked 
Sea, to Wejh. Their Mediterranean seabord town in the north 
is Gaza, a granary of cheap corn to the tribes of Sinai, and for 
the nigher Arabian nomads. About Gaza we have seen them 
(Tidha, Seydein), husbandmen tent -dwellers ; in the Tehama 
their nation are nomad herdsmen : but certain of their tribesmen 
dwelling there in valley grounds and low bottoms, are also hus- 
bandmen of palms and sowers of grain, in little hamlets of stand- 
ing tents. We have seen them, in the Hisma, barley sowers ; in 
the Nefud and old Amalekite soil betwixt Gaza and Egypt, 
their clans (Terabin, Sudki) are nomads. The Howeytat tent- 
villagers of Palestine are nearly as the other Syrians, there are 
many of them that follow merchandise, trafficking more especially 
with the Beduw ; of these tribesmen are some which have also 
store-houses of clay. There are mere Beduin tribes which use clay 
housing, even in Arabia ; as the Fukara and Welad Aly sheykhs 
have clay summer-houses at Kheybar ; where they are landlords 
but not land-tillers. The station is to the forwandered Beduins, 
keyif, a cheerful refreshment ; they have little or no aversion to 
take up the settled life. Certainly all the villages and towns in 
the breadth of nomad Arabia, were at first colonies of Beduins, 
whose inhabitants yet remember their nomad tribes ; and we 
see up and down in the open nomad country the Beduwy will 
become half an husbandman where he may have good easy 
thrift. Thus the best valleys upon both sides the Harra, next 
el-Hejr, are sown all years by some of the Moahib Aarab. 
Their harvest up, they strike the hamlets of tents, and with 
their cattle go forth to wander a while as the nomads. 



ABE THE HOWEYTAT NABATEANS ? 235 

The Howeytat are commonly clownish bodies, having the 
large bony frame of wheat-eaters, and raw visages, much re- 
sembling the Syrian peasantry of outlying villages, (such are 
even those which I have seen from the Tehama in Arabia,) 
sooner than the lithe-limbed and subtle-brained and supple- 
tongued Arabians of land-inward Nejd. All that I could 
learn, often enquiring, of their ancestry, was only that they 
are variously reported to descend from two brethren, as some 
will, of Harb, who came of old time into that upper Eed 
Sea country from el- Yemen. But it is otherwise commonly 
told of them that they are descended from Nasara : which may 
be interpreted, ' they remain in the same seats which they 
already occupied in fore-Islamic (to the Arabs pre-historic) 
times under another religion.' This is the old circuit of the 
western Nabateans. Be the Howeytat — traders even now 
and husbandmen — descended from Nabateans ? I enquired 
of those dealers, how they hoped to pass safely with their 
merchandise to Howeytat country, which begins about two 
hundred and fifty miles from hence at J. Sherra ? They told 
me, " We have taken a rafik from every tribe upon the way 
thither." The Arabian rafik, often an enemy, is a paid brother- 
of-the-road, that for a modest fee takes upon him to quit 
the convoy from all hostile question and encounter of his own 
tribesmen. Thus Arabian wayfarers may ride with little dread 
through hostile marches, and be received even to their enemies' 
hospitality. 

When I understood in our menzil that this is the guest's 
honourable office, I went the next afternoon to call Hirfa home 
to Zeyd's household ; where else she had been abashed to return 
of herself and they to seek her. I found Hirfa a little shame- 
faced, sitting in the midst of her gossips ; old wife-folk that had 
been friends of her dead mother ; they were come together to the 
aunt's booth to comfort her, and there were the young men her 
cousins. Sad-faced sat the childless young wife, she was playing 
fondly with a neighbour's babe. ' Khalil, she said, must fill her 
great tobacco pipe, galliun, or she would not hear my words.' 
The old wives cried out, " Thou art, Khalil, to fill all our galliuns 
(they are great tobacco ' bibbers '), and else we will not let Hirfa 
go." The young men said they would keep Hirfa, and marry 
her themselves, and not give her again " to that wicked Zeyd." 

The tobacco distributed, I took Hirfa by the little Beduish 
hand (never labouring, they have all these little hands), and 
bidding her rise, the little peevish housewife answered me, 
* But she would not be held, Khalil must let go her hand.' I 



236 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

said then, " I will bring thee home, hostess, return with me ; and 
else I must alight to pitch my tent by thee, from the next 
rahla." Hirfa : " That do, Khalil, and welcome : I and thou will 
go, — ah ! where we shall eat a camel together (she would say a 
bountiful household), only fill thou again my gallium" The 
Aunt : " And mine, Khalil ; or Hirfa is ours, ay, and we will 
not let her go." Having rilled the galliuns of them all, I asked 
if our mistress Hirfa were not now coming. A young cousin 
said " I am her father, and Hirfa is mine, Khalil ; no ! we will 
not give her more to Zeyd." Said her aunt : " Well, go over, 
Khalil ; Hirfa follows, and all we (the bevy of old women) 
accompany her " (to bring her home honourably). Soon after, 
arriving before my tent door, they called me out to pay them 
another dole of tobacco : — And Hirfa sat again in her own beyt. 

The woman's lot is here unequal concubinage, and in this 
necessitous life a weary servitude. The possession in her of 
parents and tutors has been yielded at some price, (in contempt 
and constraint of her weaker sex,) to an husband, by whom she 
may be dismissed in what day he shall have no more pleasure 
in her. It may be, (though seldom among nomads their will is 
forced,) that those few flowering years of her youth, with her 
virginity have been yielded to some man of unlikely age. And 
his heart is not hers alone ; but, if not divided already, she must 
look to divide her marriage in a time to come with other. 
And certainly as she withers, which is not long to come, or 
having no fair adventure to bear male children, she will as 
thing unprofitable be cast off ; meanwhile all the house-labour 
is hers, and with his love will be lost. What oneness of hearts 
can be betwixt these lemans, whose lots are not faithfully 
joined ? Sweet natural love may bud for a moment, but not 
abide in so uneven ways. Love is a dovelike confidence, and 
thereto consents not the woman's heart that is wronged. 

Few then are the nomad wives whose years can be long 
happy in marriage ! they are few indeed or nearly none that 
continue in their first husband's household. Such are commonly 
mothers of many children, or wedded in needy families, so that 
the house-fathers are not able to maintain another housewife. 
But substantial and sheykhly persons will have done betimes 
with these old wives, and pass to new bride-beds, or they were 
not Moslemin ; and being rich men they spend cheerfully for new 
wives as they will spend for the seasonable change of clothing. 
The cast housewife may be taken up by another worthy man, 
in favour of some old liking, or pass to the new marriage and 
household service of some poorer person. The woman's joy 
and her comfort is to be mother of sons,, that at least she may 



A CAST-OFF WIFE. 237 

remain a matron in her boy's tent, when even his hard father 
shall have repudiated her. It was thus with Ghrobny, Zeyd's 
young son Selim's mother. Zeyd, pitying her tears, had found 
her another husband of poor Khamala folk, by whom she had 
now a new babe : but the man dealt unkindly with her ; where- 
fore returning to her young son, she was pitched again as 
an uncheerful widow to live by Zeyd. A day dawned, and 
Ghrobny's booth was away ! the Arabs stood half laughing and 
wondering, for it was a poor-spirited creature, that had been a 
fair woman in her youth, till we understood of Selim she 
had loaded upon her camel in the night-time and was stolen 
away to the Khamaly in a distant menzil. The wretch, the day 
before, coming hither, had kissed her and vowed like a smooth 
lover to receive her again. But after two days the poor fond 
woman, and now little pleasing, returned to us with red eyes, 
to embrace her child, who had remained in the meanwhile con- 
fused with his father ; and from the next rahla, the drivelling 
and desolate wife alighted as before to encamp by Zeyd. 

These Aarab say, " the hareem are twice the men, in 
number." If that be so, natural reason should teach that a man 
may have more wives than one ; and I can think that the 
womankind exceed them. From spring months to spring 
months, nine months in the year, the most nomad women are 
languishing with hunger : they bear few children ; of two at a 
birth I have heard no mention among them. They are good 
mothers, and will suckle the babe very long at their meagre 
breasts, if they be not again with child. In Zeyd's encamp- 
ment was a little damsel of four years, not yet weaned ; 
and the mother said, " We have no goats, there is naught in 
this waste, and what else might I do for my little bint ? " They 
wash their babes in camel-urine, and think thus to help them 
from insects : it is acrid, especially when the cattle have browsed 
of certain alkaline bushes, as the rimth. And in this water they 
all comb out their long hair, both men and women, yet sometimes 
thereby bleaching their locks, so that I have seen young men's 
braided " horns " grizzled. There is a strange custom, (not only 
of nomad women, but in the Arabic countries even among 
Christians, which may seem to remain of the old idolatry 
among them,) of mothers, their gossips, and even young 
maidens, visiting married women to kiss with a kind of de- 
votion the hammam of the male children. 

In all Arabia both men and women, townsfolk and Beduins, 
where they may come by it, paint the whites of their eyes blue, 
with kahl or antimony ; thus Mohammed Ibn Rashid has his 
bird-like eyes painted. Not only would they be more love- 



238 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

looking, in the sight of their women, who have painted them, 
and that braid their long manly side-locks ; but they hold that 
this sharpens too and will preserve their vision. With long 
hair shed in the midst, and hanging down at either side in 
braided horns, and false eyes painted blue, the Arabian man's 
long head under the coloured kerchief, is in our eyes more than 
half feminine ; and in much they resemble women. 

Townswomen of well-faring families, in all the old govern- 
ment of the Wahaby are taught the prayers ; and there are 
some that have learned to read. In the nomad tribes women 
are seldom seen to pray, except in ramathan, the month of 
bodily abstinence and devotion : they are few which know the 
prayers ; I suppose even the half of the men have not learned 
them. The Beduwy, in Arabia, passes for as good as a clerk 
that can say his formal devotion : the nomads which have much 
praying amongst them, are the more ill-natured. Women pray 
not as the men, falling upon their faces ; but they recite the 
form of words with folded arms and kneeling. " El-entha, the 
female (mild to labour and bringing forth the pastoral riches) 
is, of all animals, the better, say the Arabians, save only in 
mankind." Yet this is not an opinion of all Arabs, for the hurr, 
or dromedary stallion, is preferred for his masculine strength by 
the Moors or Western Arabs. Upon the human entha the 
Semites cast all their blame. Hers is, they think, a maleficent 
nature, and the Aarab complain that " she has seven lives." 
The Arabs are contrary to womankind, upon whom they would 
have God's curse ; " some (say the Beduw) are poisoners of 
husbands, and there are many adulteresses." They, being full 
of impotent iniquity themselves, too lightly reproach the honest 
housewives, although not without some cause : but what might 
not those find to tell all day again of the malignant incon- 
stancy of husbands ? The horma they would have under sub- 
jection : admitted (they say) to an equality, the ineptitude of 
her evil nature will break forth. They check her all day at 
home, and let her never be enfranchised from servitude. If the 
sapient king in Jerusalem found never a good woman ; many a 
better man has found one better than himself. The veil and 
the jealous lattice are rather of the obscene Mohammedan 
austerity in the towns : among the mild tent-dwellers in the 
open wilderness the housewives have a liberty, as where all are 
kindred ; yet their hareem are now seen in the most Arabian 
tribes half veiled. When some asked me, at Zeyd's coffee-fire, if 
our hareem went veiled, I answered, " No ! they are open-faced, 
there is no need of face-clouts among honest folk ; also I think 
among you Aarab, they which have their women's faces veiled, 



THE NOMAD WOMAN. 



239 



are the more dissolute tribes." The Beduins are always glad to 
hear other tribesmen blamed. It was answered, " Ay, billah, 
they are corrupted." I asked Zeyd, " Art thou of this opinion ? " 
" Khalil — he said in his heart, ' Thou thinkest as the kuffar ' — 
the face of a wife should be seen of no man besides her own 
husband." 

The woman's sex is despised by the old nomad and divine 
law in Moses ; for a female birth the days of her purification are 
doubled, also the estimation of her babe shall be at the half. 
Did she utter any vow, it is void if her husband say no. 
But the Semitic mother of a son is in honour. We read : " Let 
a man obey his mother and his father," the Semitic scribe 
writing his mother first. And commonly it is seen amongst 
rude Arabs, the grown son has a tender regard toward his 
mother, that she is his dam, before the teeming love even of 
his fresh young wife. So the mother's love in the tribes is 
womanly, tender ; and naming her sons she will add some loving 
superstitious saw, as el-agal Ullah, " The Lord preserve them ! " 
The nomad hareem are delivered as other mothers, with pangs, 
after a labour of certain hours. It is a fond opinion that the 
daughters of the desert are as the wild creatures, that suffer not 
in child-bearing. But her household and nation is migratory ; 
there is no indolent hope before her of comfort and repose. 
The herb is consumed daily about them, the thirsty cattle are 
ever advancing to pasture and water, the people is incessantly 
removing : in the camping-ground of to-day, they cannot perhaps 
lie upon the morrow. Their bed is a mantle or tent-cloth spread 
upon the earth ; they live indeed in the necessitous simplicity 
almost of the wild creatures. The nomad woman has therefore, 
of custom, of necessity ! another courage. Are the Aarab in a 
journey when her time is come ? her family halt, and alight- 
ing, they build the booth over her. Are the tribesmen en- 
camped ? with certain elder women friends she steals forth to 
be delivered, apart in the wilderness. The nomads about jour- 
neying, when it were peril to be left behind, she is gently lifted 
and seated as any other sick and infirm person in a nest made 
of her carpet or her tent-cloth wound down upon the camel 
pack-saddle, to follow riding with them in the rahla : and 
that they pass their lives thus nomads feel little fatigue, but 
rather take rest in riding. 

In the Jahaliat or " olden time of heathen ignorance," there 
was an horrible custom in the desert, nearly to the generation 
of Mohammed, to bury maid-children living (which signifies 
also that the female births among them were more numerous). 
The woman is not born to manage the sword, but her hand is 



2 4 o TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

for the silly distaff, she neither strengthens the ashira nor is 
aught to the increase and building of her father's household, 
but an unprofitable mouth is added to the hungry eaters of a 
slender substance : and years long he must wear a busy head 
for the keeping of a maiden ; the end of all is an uncertain 
bride-money (therewith he buys for her again some household 
stuff, and it is her dower), when she will go forth as a stranger to 
another house. The father hid himself, in the day of her birth, 
from his common acquaintance. 

When I have questioned the Beduw, had they heard 
of this by tradition ? they have answered, marvelling, " They 
could not imagine there had ever been such a cursed custom 
in the country." Daughters when past the first amiable in- 
fancy are little set by in the Arabic households. The son is 
beloved by his father, till he be grown, above the wife that 
bare him, before his own soul, and next after the man's own 
father : and the young child in an household is hardly less 
beloved of his elder brethren. God has sent a son, and the 
father cannot contrary him in anything, whilst he is a child. 
This it is that in time to come may comfort his age, and in his 
last end honourably bury him ; and year by year after, as the 
nomads in their journeys be come again, offer the sacrifice 
of the dead and pray over him : so shall his name be yet 
had in remembrance among the living. Much sooner then, 
would a man give a buffet to his wife, or twenty, than lay 
hand-strokes upon the back of the perverse child their son, 
and turn away the mind of him for ever. In bitterness of a 
displeasure he will snib his disobedient son with vehement 
words, but his anger shall pass no further to break the house- 
peace ; after years this child shall be better than himself, and 
therefore he is one whom he durst not now offend. There be 
fathers, say the nomads, that rule with the rod. I cannot 
believe them. A son dying, a father's spirit is long overcast, he is 
overborne awhile with silent sorrow ; but the remembrance of a 
deceased daughter, unless her life were of any singular worth 
or goodly promise untimely broken, is not very long enduring. 
Moslemin, (this is to say, The Submitted~to-ihe-divine-govern- 
ance-of-the-world,) the men make no lamentation for the dead ; 
only they say, " He is gone, the Lord have mercy upon him ! " 

I found also among these Beduins, that with difficulty they 
imagine any future life ; they pray and they fast as main duties 
in religion, looking (as the Semitic Patriarchs before them) 
for the present life's blessing. There is a sacrifice for the dead, 
which I have seen continued to the third generation. I have 
seen a sheykh come with devout remembrance, to slaughter his 



CHILDREN GROW UP WITHOUT INSTRUCTION. 241 

sacrifice and to pray at the heap where his father or his father's 
father lies buried : and I have seen such to kiss his hand, in 
passing any time by the place where the sire is sleeping, and 
breathe out, with almost womanly tenderness, words of blessing 
and prayer ; — and this is surely comfort in one's dying, that he 
will be long-time so kindly had in his children's mind. In the 
settled Semitic countries their hareem, and even Christian 
women, go out at certain days to the graves to weep. I have 
seen a widow woman lead her fatherless children thither, and 
they kneeled down together : I saw the mother teach them to 
weep, and she bewailed her dead with a forced suffocating voice 
and sobbing, Ya habiby, " Aha ! aha ! my beloved ! " The Aarab 
children are ruled by entreaties ; the nomad girls are often way- 
ward at home, the boys will many times despise the mother's 
voice. I have known an ill-natured child lay a stick to the back 
of his good cherishing mother ; and asked why she suffered this, 
she answered, sighing, " My child is a kafir," that is, of an 
heathenish froward nature : this boy was not of the full Beduin 
blood, his father being Abu Sinun the Moor. Some asking if 
our children too were peevish, when they heard from me the old 
dreadful severity of Moses' law, they exclaimed, " But many is 
the ill-natured lad among us that, and he be strong enough, 
will beat his own father." The Arabs babble, and here also 
it were hard to believe them. Savages inure their sons ; but 
Beduin children grow up without instruction of the parents. 
They learn but of hearing the people's saws, in the worsted 
tents, where their only censor is the public opinion. There are 
devout Beduins full, in that religious life of the desert, of 
natural religion, who may somewhiles reprove them ; but the 
child is never checked for any lying, although the Arabians 
say " the lie is shameful." Their lie is an easy stratagem and 
one's most ready defence to mislead his enemy. Nature we see 
to be herself most full of all guile, and this lying mouth is in- 
dulged by the Arabian religion. 



d. t. 16 



CHAPTEE IX. 



LIFE IN THE WANDERING VILLAGE 

Sand pools. Fantastic forms of the toasting sand-rocks. Nomad topography. 
The Beduins toil not. They are constrained to be robbers. Life in the worsted 
village. Nomads rise with the sun. The cup of coffee. The coffee company. 
The higher or inner seat about the hearth more honourable. Sybarites of the 
desert. Galliuns. Beduins given to coffee and tobacco. The old coffee trees of 
the world. Wahdby opinion of tobacco. The Mejlis. Justice in the desert. 
Day-sleepers. The Beduin prayer. Motlog the great sheykh. The sheukh 
are nobles. The Agid. Their fear of treading upon serpents in the darkness. 
The Nasrdny among the desert tribesmen. Vaccination. Abu Faris. He answers 
them in Hdyil. The second Abu Faris. The magnanimity of the desert. His 
good fortune among them. Inoculation. The medicine box opened. They use 
even unclean things in medicine. The hakim in Arabia. Their diseases. The 
Physician is Ullah. The Beduwy's mind is in his eyes. Their knavery. 
Physicians should be paid only upon their patients' amendment. Hijabs. 
Metaab's amulet. A spell against lead. The jan or demons of under-earth. 
Exorcism. Indigence and welfaring. Our evening fire. The sheykh* s mare. 
Reclining posture of these Asiatics. Floor-sitters and chair -sitters. The mare 
a chargeable possession. The mare's foster -camel. Mereesy. Nomad milk supper. 
Orientalism not of the Aarab. The kassdds. The nomads' fantasy high and 
religious. Some turns and religious amenity of their speech. The Beduin 
talk. Every tribe's loghra. Their malice. The Semites cannot blaspheme 
divine things. Herdmen's grossness in the Semitic nature. Their malediction. 
Their oaths. Their magnanimity not to the death. Zeyd proffers to clear him- 
self by an oath. Forms of conjuring protection and amnesty. ' His beard ' said 
for the honour of a man. To swear, By the life of. The Arabs' leave-taking 
is ungracious. 

The camels now jezzin, we wandered without care of great 
watering places ; the people drinking of any small waters 
of the sufja, or ground rock. There are in all this desert 
mountain soil pit-like places of rock choked with old blown 
sand. In these sand-pools a water, of the winter rains, is long 
time preserved, but commonly thick and ill-smelling in the wet 



BERGS AND MOUNTAINS. 



243 



sand, and putrefying with rotten fibres of plants and urea of 
the nomads' cattle, which have been watered here from the be 
ginning. Of such the Aarab (they prefer the thick desert water 
to pure water) now boiled their daily coffee, which is not then 
ill-tasting. The worst is that blackish water drawn from pits 
long forsaken, until they have been voided once ; and sooner 
than drink their water I suffered thirst, and very oft passed the 
nights half sleepless. Strange are the often forms in this desert 





(Sandstone) needles wasted through at 
their heads: Camp Khussherkish. 





Marbut el Hosan. Medain Salih. 



Near the descent to 
el-H6jr from Teyma. 




Fejir district 



Fejir district. 



of wasted sand-rock, spires, needles, pinnacles, and battled 
mountains, which are good landmarks. I asked Zeyd, ' Did he 
know them all ? ' Answer : " From my childhood, I know as 
good as every great stone upon all our marches," that may be 
over three or four thousand square miles. Mountain (jebel in 
the settled countries) is commonly thulla — " rib," (and dim. 
thulleya,) with the nomads ; — we say coast almost in like 
wise. Any tall peak, berg or monticule, serving for a land- 
mark, they call towil ; a headland is khusshm, " naze, snout ; " 
(khusshm is said in Arabia for man's nose.) Some hilly 
mountain-coasts are named huthb ; bottin in the mouths of the 

16—2 



244 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

Moahib Beduins is said of any blunt hilly height. The desert 
waste is called khdla, " the land that is empty ;" the soil, beled. 
— And such is desert Arabia. 

— But to speak now of the nomad inhabitants and how they 
lead their lives. El-Beduw ma yetaabun, " toil not " (say they,) 
that is not bodily ; but their spirits are made weary with 
incessant apprehension of their enemies, and their flesh with 
continual thirst and hunger. The necessitous lives of the 
Aarab may hardly reach to a virtuous mediocrity ; they are 
constrained to be robbers. " The life in the desert is better 
than any, if there were not the Beduw," is said proverbially by 
oases' Arabians ; the poor Beduins they think to be full of 
iniquity, melaun el-weyladeyn, " of cursed kind, upon both sides, 
of their father and mother." Pleasant is the sojourn in the 
wandering village, in this purest earth and air, with the human 
fellowship, which is all day met at leisure about the cheerful 
coffee fire, and amidst a thousand new prospects. Here, where 
we now alighted, is this day's rest, to-morrow our home will be 
yonder. The desert day returning from the east, warns the 
Beduin awake, who rises to his prayers ; or it may be, unwitting 
of the form, he will but murmur toward heaven the supplication 
of his fearful human nature, and say, " Ah Lord my God ! " and, 
" Oh that this day may be fortunate ; give Thou that we see 
not the evil ! " Of daily food they have not half enough, and 
if any head of the cattle be taken ! — how may his household yet 
live ? Bye and bye the herdsman is ready, and his beasts are 
driven far from his sight. 

No sweet chittering of birds greets the coming of the 
desert light, besides man there is no voice in this waste 
drought. The Beduins, that lay down in their cloaks upon 
the sandy mother-earth in the open tents, hardly before the 
middle night, are already up and bestirring themselves. In 
every coffee-sheykh's tent, there is new fire blown in the hearth, 
and he sets on his coffee-pots ; then snatching a coal in his 
fingers, he will lay it in his tobacco-pipe. The few coffee-beans 
received from his housewife are roasted and brayed ; as. all is 
boiling, he sets out the little cups, fenjeyl (for fenjeyn) which 
we saw have been made, for the uningenious Arabs, in the West. 
When, with a pleasant gravity, he has unbuckled his gutia or 
cup-box, we see the nomad has not above three or four fenjeyns, 
wrapt in a rusty clout, with which he scours them busily, as if 
this should make his cups clean. The roasted beans are 
pounded amongst Arabs with a magnanimous rattle — and (as 
all their labour) rhythmical — in brass of the town, or an old 
wooden mortar, gaily studded with nails, the work of some 



THE COFFEE HEARTH IN THE DESERT. 



245 



nomad smith. The water bubbling in the small dellal, he casts 
in his fine coffee powder, el-bunn, and withdraws the pot to 
simmer a moment. From a knot in his kerchief he takes then 
an head of cloves, a piece of cinnamon or other spice, bahar, and 
braying these, he casts their dust in after. Soon he pours 
out some hot drops to essay his coffee ; if the taste be to his 
liking, making dexterously a nest of all the cups in his hand, 
with pleasant clattering, he is ready to pour out for the company, 
and begins upon his right hand ; and first, if such be present, 
to any considerable sheykh and principal persons. The fenjeyn 
kahwa is but four sips : to fill it up to a guest, as in the 
northern towns, were among Beduins an injury, and of such 
bitter meaning, " This drink thou and depart." Then is often 
seen a contention in courtesy amongst them, especially in any 
greater assemblies, who shall drink first. Some man that 
receives the fenjeyn in his turn, will not drink yet, — he prof- 
fers it to one sitting in order under him, as to the more 
honourable : but the other putting off with his hand will answer 
ebbeden, " nay, it shall never be, by Ullah ! but do thou drink ! " 
Thus licensed, the humble man is dispatched in three sips, and 
hands up his empty fenjeyn. But if he have much insisted, by 
this he opens his willingness to be reconciled with one not his 
friend. That neighbour, seeing the company of coffee-drinkers 
watching him, may with an honest grace receive the cup, and 
let it seem not willingly : but an hard man will sometimes rebut 
the other's gentle proffer. 

Some may have taken lower seats than becoming their 
sheykhly blood, of which the nomads are jealous ; entering 
untimely, they sat down out of order, sooner than trouble all 
the company. A sheykh, coming late and any business going 
forward, will often sit far out in the assembly ; and show himself 
a popular person in this kind of honourable humility. The 
more inward in the booths is the higher place ; where also 
is, with the sheykhs, the seat of a stranger. To sit in the loose 
circuit without and before the tent, is for the common sort. 
A tribesman arriving presents himself at that part, or a little 
lower, where in the eyes of all men his pretension will be 
well allowed ; and in such observances of good nurture, is 
a nomad man's honour among his tribesmen. And this is 
nigh all that serves the nomad for a conscience, namely, that 
which men will hold of him. A poor person approaching 
from behind, stands obscurely, wrapped in his tattered mantle, 
with grave ceremonial, until those sitting indolently before him 
in the sand shall vouchsafe to take notice of him : then they rise 
unwillingly, and giving back enlarge the coffee-circle to receive 



246 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

him. But if there arrive a sheykh, a coffee-host, a richard amongst 
them of a few cattle, all the coxcomb companions within will 
hail him with their pleasant adulation, laad henneyi, " Step thou 
up hither." 

The astute Fukara sheukh surpass all men in their cofTee- 
drinking courtesy, and Zeyd himself was more than any large 
of this gentleman-like imposture : he was full of swaggering 
complacence and compliments to an humbler person. With 
what suavity could he encourage, and gently too compel a man, 
and rising himself yield him parcel of another man's room ! In 
such fashions Zeyd showed himself a bountiful great man, 
who indeed was the greatest niggard. The cups are drunk 
twice about, each one sipping after other's lips without mis- 
liking; to the great coffee sheykhs the cup may be filled more 
times, but this is an adulation of the coffee-server. There are 
some of the Fukara sheukh so delicate Sybarites, that of those 
three bitter sips, to draw out all their joyance, twisting, turning 
and tossing again the cup, they could make ten. The coffee- 
service ended, the grounds are poured out from the small 
into the great store-pot that is reserved full of warm water : with 
the bitter lye the nomads will make their next bever, and think 
they spare coffee. 

— This of the greater coffee gatherings : but to speak rather 
of the small daily company in a private sheykh's menzil, drawn 
together to the clatter of the good man's surbut or coffee-pestle. 
Grave, with levity, is the indolent nomad man's countenance. 
As many Beduin heads, so many galliuns or tobacco-pipes, with 
commonly nothing to put in them. Is any man seen to have 
a little of the coveted leaf, knotted in his kerchief, he durst 
not deny to divide it with them, — which if he withheld, yet 
pretending mirth, the rest would have it from him, perforce. 
If there be none found among them, they sit raking the old 
lilth out of their galliuns and, with sorry cheer, put the coal 
upon that, which they have mixed with a little powdered dry 
camel-dung or some sere herbage : thus they taste at least a 
savour (such sweetness to them) of tobacco, whereof, when 
they are any while deprived, I have seen them chop their pipe- 
stems small for the little tobacco moisture which remained 
in them ; and laying a coal upon this drenched wood they 
" drink " in the fume with a last solace. 

The best pipe-heads are those wrought in stone by the 
hands of the Beduins, the better stone is found two days below 
Hejr, and by Teyma. Besides they use the sebil, or earthen- 
ware bent tube of the Syrian haj market. Their galliun stem is 
made of the branch of some wild fig-tree, grown by desert 



COFFEE AND TOBACCO. 247 

waters, or of plum-tree from the oasis ; they bore it with a 
red-hot iron over the evening watch-fires. Comfortatives of 
the brain and vital spirits, and stay of importunate hunger, we 
find the Arabian nomads abandoned to the usage of coffee and 
tobacco ; in both they all observe the same customs and cere- 
mony, which we might imagine therefore, without book, to be 
come down in their generations from some high antiquity. 
So much are they idly given to these tent pleasures, that many 
Beduins think they may hardly remember themselves of a 
morning, till they have sipped coffee, and " drunk " upon it 
a galliun of tobacco. The coveted solace of the grape, in the 
veins of their old idol- worshipping fathers, is no more re- 
membered by the Beduin tradition ; even their former artillery, 
the bows and arrows, hardly two centuries laid down, I have 
found almost out of mind amongst them. We see the Arabian 
race lasting without change, only less than their eternal 
deserts ; but certain inventions (guns, tobacco, coffee) sprung up 
in the world, and falling, like their religion, to the national 
humour, have as hastily prevailed among them. Even the 
outlying great waste Peninsula is carried by the world's great 
changes ! History shows a marvellous levity of their hundred 
tribes ; part fearing for themselves, and partly in the hope of 
booty, converting (so they will ever to the stronger), in one 
generation, from their ancient idols to the new and soon 
grown faction of Mohammed in religion. 

Coffee, we hear, had been brought first into el-Yemen from 
" Abyssinia " (that is Galla-land or further Hdbash). Galla men 
sold into slavery in Arabia have related to me that, in their 
country are " trunks of wild coffee-trees great as oaks " ; and 
very likely those secular stems were living before the first 
drinking of kahwa in Asia, which from Mecca must soon 
spread (with every returning pilgrimage) to the whole Moham- 
medan world. In Galla-land the fallen coffee-beans are gather- 
ed under the wild trees and roasted in butter : coffee is only 
drunk by their elders ; younger men, they said, " would be 
ashamed " to use, at their years, the caudle drink. Tobacco, 
brought in the English cloth-merchants' ships to Constantinople 
in James I.'s days, is now (save the reformed soil of Nejd) sown 
up and down in the Arabian oases. The Beduins love well 
to ' drink ' the fume of a strong leaf till the world turn round, 
yet will they say, after the Wahaby doctrine, " Tobacco is bawl 
iblis, the devil's water." Nevertheless the evil use is tolerated 
(so a man burn the " unbecoming " leaf within his own house) 
in all Nejd, without the (now small) Wahaby state and 
in some utter fanatical tribe as the Kahtan. I have known 



248 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

brothers of the galliun, which had been little less than aban- 
doned to their darling tobacco, wean themselves from the 
irreligious and uncomely use, upon a sudden frank deter- 
mination, and not tempt it again. These were for the most 
part fanatics. I remember one comely villager, who forsook 
it because the pipe-stem deformed the grace of his lips, would 
bring too soon his age upon him, and endangered an amorous 
breath. He had a fair wife or twain at home, and was besides a 
lover at large, a heartless seeker of new marriages, even in the 
desert. There are also Beduins which have a natural aversion 
from the tobacco drug, others again indifferent ; and some 
at the first having been " beaten from it " by their fathers, — poor 
men who would not have their lads, which as herdsmen must 
labour in the sun for their living, to grow up, as loitering flies, in 
camp, about the coffee-tents, — they continue in this abstinence. 
So there are many which find no taste in coffee, or of an 
abstinent humour, that will indulge themselves in nothing, they 
drink not, fearing it should abate their manly courage. The 
most mejlis men abuse these drugs, which distemper their weak 
bodies ; many thus are umbratiles in the booths, and give them- 
selves almost to a perpetual slumber. 

For the Beduins sitting in the coffee-tent of their menzil, 
when the sun mounts, it is time to go over to the mejlis, " sitting," 
the congregation or parliament of the tribesmen. There also is 
the public coffee-drinking, held at Motlog's or some other one of 
the chief sheykhs' worsted " houses " ; where the great sheykh 
and the coffee companions may that morrow be assembled : for 
where their king bee is found, there will the tribesmen assemble 
together. The mejlis-seekers wending through the wide en- 
campment, enquire of any they meet, " The mejlis, where ? 
eigh weled! hast thou seen the sheukh sitting?" In this par- 
liament they commune together of the common affairs ; they 
reason of their policy in regard of Ibn Kashid, the Dowla, the 
tribes about them. Here is reported what any may have 
heard of the movement of foemen, or have signs been seen of a 
ghrazzu : tidings from time to time are brought in of their own 
or foreign waters ; householders tell of the pasture found yester- 
day by their dispersed herdsmen. Let him speak here who will, 
the voice of the least is heard among them ; he is a tribesman. 
The mejlis forecast the next journeys of the tribe, whereof a 
kind of running advice remains in all their minds, which they 
call es-shor ; this is often made known to their allies, and is very 
necessary to any of themselves that are about to take a journey. 

This is the council of the elders and the public tribunal : 
hither the tribesmen bring their causes at all times, and it is 



JUSTICE IN THE DESERT. 249 

pleaded by the maintainers of both sides with busy clamour ; 
and everyone may say his word that will. The sheykh mean- 
while takes counsel with the sheukh, elder men and more con- 
siderable persons ; and judgment is given commonly without 
partiality and always without bribes. This sentence is finaL 
The loser is mulcted in heads of small cattle or camels, which 
he must pay anon, or go into exile, before the great sheykh send 
executors to distrain any beasts of his, to the estimation of the 
debt. The poor Beduins are very unwilling payers, and often 
think themselves unable at present : thus, in every tribe, some 
households may be seen of other tribes' exiles. 

Their justice is such, that in the opinion of the next governed 
countries, the Arabs of the wilderness are the justest of mortals. 
Seldom the judge and elders err, in these small societies of 
kindred, where the life of every tribesman lies open from his in- 
fancy and his state is to all men well known. Even their suits 
are expedite, as all the other works of the Arabs. Seldom is 
a matter not heard and resolved in one sitting. Where the 
accusation is grave and some are found absent that should be 
witnesses, their cause is held over to another hearing. The 
nomad justice is mild where the Hebrew law, in this smelling of 
the settled countries, is crude. In the desert there is no human 
forfeit, there is nothing even in homicide, if the next to the 
blood withhold not their assent, which may not be composed, 
the guilty paying the amends (rated in heads of cattle). The 
Hebrew law excised the sores in the commonwealth, and the 
certainty of retaliation must weigh and prick in the mind of 
evil-doers. The Beduwy has no more to fear before him than 
a fine afar off ; he may escape all if his evil heart sufficeth him, 
only going from his own kin into perpetual exile. 

Towards noon, in days when the camp is standing, as the 
mejlis is ended, the company begin to disperse. The bare-foot 
Beduwy returns lonely over the hot sand, and will slumber, in 
his booth, till vespers, el-assr. The nomads are day-sleepers : 
some of the Beduins will turn upon their sides to slumber, as if 
the night were come again, by ten o'clock. But if a man fall 
asleep, sitting in the coffee circle, it is unbecoming ; let him go 
apart and lie down in the sides of the tent. Is any overcome 
at unawares amongst them, the rest will shake him and say, 
" Up, man ! what dost thou here to slumber ? " Yet in the midst 
of their murmuring discourse, and being feeble with fasting, 
I not seldom fell asleep, upon a sudden, sitting to drink coffee ; 
which weakness of nature they saw in a stranger with wonder- 
ing piety and humanity ! All the Arabs reverence a man's 
sleeping ; he is as it were in trance with God, and a truce of his 



250 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 



waking solicitude : in their households they piously withdraw, 
nor will any lightly molest him, until he waken of himself. 
Only from el-assr till the sun set, they sleep no more, that such 
they think were unwholesome. Of their much slumbering, they 
are more wakeful in the dark night hours, which time in the 
open wilderness is troubled with alarms ; the hounds often 
bark at the wolf till the morning light, and the habalis are 
afoot. Some will talk the mid-day hours away lying out in 
the next cliff's shadow, or under the thin shade of some gum- 
acacia tree, or in the sheykh's great tent. At vespers the 
Beduin bestirs himself ; he goes forth again, murmuring some 
words of pious preparation, to say his afternoon prayer : falling 
on his knees, he claps his palms upon the sand before him, and 
rubs them, then drawing them down from the forehead, he 
washes thus the two sides of his visage, for there is no water. 
Eising again from his devotion, he walks abroad to look for any 
new smoke rising, which is a sign of the coffee fire and cheerful 
fellowship. A sheykh who would far over the wide encampment, 
will leap upon his mare's bare back to ride thither. Most 
officious of the afternoon coffee-hosts was Burjess, a rich young 
sheykh among certain sheukh of W. Aly, malcontents living 
now with the Fukara ; his was the most spacious tent in our 
encampment. If the mejlis assembled again for any public 
business, or after a rahla, the afternoon company was more 
numerous, many of the shepherds at that hour coming in. 

As for the head of the tribe, Motlog, he was a personable 
strong man and well proportioned, of the middle stature, of 
middle age, and with a comely Jewish visage ; and thereto the 
Arabian honour of a thick black beard, and he looked forth with 
a manly assurance under that specious brow of his sheykhly 
moderation. A fair-spoken man, as they be all in fair weather, 
full of the inborn Beduin arts when his interest was touched. 
Simple in his manners, he alone went with no gay camel-stick 
in his hand and never carried a sword ; by which politic urbanity, 
he covered a superfluous insolence of the nobleman, which be- 
came him well. When the mejlis assembled numerous at his 
booth, he, the great sheykh and host, would sit out with a proud 
humility among the common people, holding still his looks at the 
ground ; but they were full of unquiet side-glances, as his mind 
was erect and watching. His authority slumbered, till, there 
being some just occasion, he ruled with a word the unruly Beduw. 
A rude son of the desert sat down by me in the mejlis at my first 
coming, the shepherd of Zeyd's menzil. I asked him in his ear, 
" Which of them is Motlog ? " Answer : " Yonder is Motlog ! " and 
he added boisterously, to the stranger, ' The man there is our 



MOTLOG THE SHEYKH. 251 

Pasha; for right as the haj pasha, this Motlog governs the Aarab. 
When he says ' The rahla ! ' we all mount and set forth ; and where 
he alights there we pitch our booths. — Oho, thou Motlog ! speak 
I not well to this Nasrany ? — and, Khalil, if he would, he might 
cut off the heads, wellah-billah, of us all." Motlog lifted his 
eyes upon us for a moment with half a smile, and then reverted 
to himself. The sheykh of a nomad tribe is no tyrant ; a great 
sheykh striking a tribesman he should bruise his own honour : 
man-striking is a very bestiality, in their sight, at home. 

The sheukh (pi. of sheykh, an elder) are nobles of the blood, 
of a common ancestor, the reputed Jid or father of the tribe ; 
the great sheykh's dignity he has of inheritance. Motlog 
el-Hameydy succeeded his father Harney dy, who fell in a foray. 
and was sheykh of the Fejir, as all his fathers before him, ascend- 
ing to the patriarch ; and this dignity, which in their sight is a 
.disposition of Providence, there is no man certainly who will 
gainsay. No commoner, nor any of strange blood, even though 
he surpassed all men in wealth and sufficiency, can come to be 
the head of a nomad ashira, or even to be named of the sheykhly 
kindred, which, as has been said, are a noble lineage in the 
tribe. Sheukh match sooner with sheykhs' daughters ; and 
between all the Fejir was now a certain, so to say, feminine re- 
semblance of voice and manners : the sheukh were here about 
the fifth part of the ashira. The sheykh of the tribe is as well, 
agid, of his own right, conductor of the general ghrazzus ; his 
is the fourth part of the booty. If he ride not himself, he will 
send a son or another of the sheukh, his deputy, it might 
be Zeyd, who leads for him. I asked Zeyd, " But if the inherit- 
ing sheykh doted, or he were a man notoriously insufficient ? " 
Zeyd had not heard of such a chance. " He would be set 
aside," he answered, " and the next after him would become our 
sheykh." 

The sun setting, the loitering coffee-companions turn again 
homeward to pray and to their suppers. At first, when the 
Aarab saw me wander in the cool of the evening, I heard them 
say " Khalil goes forth to pray after his religion ; " but bye and 
bye, since I would not by any feints deceive my hosts, they began 
to account me a prayerless one of the heathen, living in the 
world without conscience of Ullah. An hour or two passed, the 
sheukh companions will sayer, " salty " or stray away, again to 
coffeeward and the evening mejlis, where they will linger on till 
midnight. For dread they have of treading in the darkness 
upon serpents, a sheykh may be seen then to draw on some 
quaint pair of old boots, such as he may have long since 
purchased at Medina. Arabian Beduins are not wearers of the 



252 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

high red clanking boots, which are a proud token of sheykhly 
estate in Syria. 

The Fukara are of the fanatical tribes ; but they are nearly 
all thus in Arabia. Motlog, the sheykhs and tribesmen, had 
been displeased with Zeyd that (for his cupidity, so well known 
to them,) he had brought in a kafir, and none such as those 
home-bred Nasranies, which they had seen themselves in Syria,, 
but of a formidable foreign nation and government, (the sheykh 
heard this from the Jurdy and Haj officers,) to wander amongst 
them. And yet, even the great sheykh's authority could hardly 
go between any hospitality of the poorest tribesman among 
them. But now as they knew me better, they welcomed the 
Nasrany with friendly words at all their coffee fires, and I sat 
every day with Zeyd in the mejlis. Only Zeyd would have 
me often remember it was only himself, who sheltered me from 
the murderous wildness of the Beduins. He would not have 
me venture, even with himself when he went abroad, after the 
day's light, but sit at home by our tent-fire with Hirfa and. 
the men of our menzil : ' what if some wretch, he said, stabbed 
me in the darkness, and the doer of it might never be known/ 
Those of our encampment, with whom I had eaten bread and 
salt, confirmed Zeyd's words, with many billahs, bidding me not 
trust to any creature, beside themselves. The Arabs are full of 
great words ; and I did not disquiet myself for their fanatical 
wild talk. " Wellah ! " said Zeyd, " it was never seen before that 
any Nasrany should sit in the Beduins' mejlis, or be seen riding 
aloft upon a camel and to follow the rahla." 

My practice in medicine was yet to begin ; now, in most un- 
happy hour, my vaccination failed me ! The lymph was pur- 
chased of a fawning Christian vaccinator of Damascus : I had 
more sent to me by the Jurdy ; but, exposed in open quills, the 
virtue was lost even before they could be delivered to me 
at Medain Salih. I had used the lately learned art with 
good success in Syrian villages. For the benefit of vaccination, 
the Beduw would have almost pardoned my misbelief ; and 
I might have lived thereby competently in a country where it 
is peril of death to be accounted the bearer of a little silver. No 
more than a sick camel now remained to me, and little gold in 
my purse, and I began to think of quitting this tedious soil, 
where henceforth without a pretext, I must needs appear as a 
spy intruded among them ; and — since it were impossible for me 
to conform to their barbaric religion — where my neck would be for 
every lawless and fanatic wretch's knife ; and in what part soever 
I should pass, with great extremities, every soul would curse me. 

I was not the first Christian vaccinator in land of the 



ABU FARIS. 



253 



southern Aarab. They had all to tell me of one Abu Fdris, 
who came to them with this craft many years before me : a man 
of an uplandish Syrian village, part inhabited by Nasara. He 
was well remembered among the Aarab : for his sake I can 
think them, where I came, to have been often less fanatically 
minded towards me. — And who comes after me may, I confide 
in God ! find the (before reproachful) Christian name respect- 
able over large provinces of the fanatical Peninsula. Abu Faris 
led a year of his life with the nomads ; — only touching at the 
towns, for doubt of their less tolerant humanity. Teyma he 
visited and Hayil ; he was even in Kasim, and had vaccinated 
at Aneyza. There was after him a second Abu Faris : he came 
to the tribes ten years later, also a Nasrany ; his own name was 
Sleyman, but, professing the art of Abu Faris, he was called by 
the nomads Abu Faris. 

Vaccination they understand to be come from the north : 
therefore if lymph be brought from the southward and the 
Harameyn (which is seldom) it is little esteemed : neither are 
there Moslem vaccinators in the north, but Nasara only. The 
Beduw upon the Syrian borders are served from Damascus, 
where there are three or four professors. I found them to 
be drapers in the bazaar ; they had learned to win also by 
this leechcraft. As the spring is come, they go on circuit 
to the country villages : more rarely, at their earnestly entreat- 
ing him, some one of them will adventure two or three days 
journey eastward to the Syrian nomads. Abu Faris, not timid 
as the demiss Damascene Christians, but of the hardy moun- 
taineers, was the first to descend with the nomads into Arabia. 
Well accepted had he been in the " houses of hair " ; a man 
that could frankly repress the petulance of the ill-meaning sort, 
and even (they tell me) in reasonable cause laying his heavy 
hand upon some of them: and they, for their parts, were content to 
see this sturdy manhood in the Christian man. The same Abu 
Faris, later in Hayil, being led by the steward of the Prince's 
hall through the castle-yard to dinner, some light spirits of the 
household bade the Nasrany halt a moment and read them a 
writing, if he could, which was painted in ochre above the inner 
tower gateway. " Ay, said he, I can read, my masters." — '* Then 
tell us what is this scripture," (feigning themselves they knew 
no letters.) " I see written 'there is none other God but Ullah. ,,, 
— " And then — ?" — " Well, and then there is that, which ye say, 
* Mohammed messenger of Ullah.' ' And likewise, many years 
afterward, at the same place, they called me to read ; and as I 
read it in a breath, " Khalil, cried the malicious witlings, has 
not refused to read all, but — ha-ha-ha ! — ve remember the word 



254 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

here of Abu Faris, ' That which ye say, Mohammed rasul 
Ullah ! ' " 

The later Abu Faris was less a man of his meat among the 
Beduw : when word was brought to the mejlis of the massacre 
of the Nasara in Syria, they saw him, between grief and fear, 
sobbing and sighing before them. When the kind Beduw said, 
" Meskin ! poor man, why will he lament thus ? Abu Faris, take 
thy heart again, dost thou not believe, also in thy religion, that 
althing is from Ullah ? " he answered them, " Alas I am thinking 
of my parentage, ah Lord God ! and lie they now dead ? woe 
is me, all cruelly murdered ! " and half womanized he added, " Ya 
rubba, Aha ! this friendly company, will ye now slay me also ? La> 
la, dakhilakom, nay, nay, do it not ! I cast myself upon you, I do 
entreat you;" then abjectly, so that the citizens of the wilder- 
ness laughed out, " Udkhul hareemakom, I do enter even to 
your women, that they protect me!" " Wellah, answered the 
Aarab, the man is mejnun, beside himself. Now look up man I 
Abu Faris ! How, thou Sleyman ! " And said many magnani- 
mous desert voices, " Hast thou not eaten with us the bread and 
salt ? bess ! it is enough, khalas ! all doubts are ended between / 
us ; as for this doing in es-Sham, we judge not whether it 
were good or evil ; but henna (we are) el-Beduw, we make nc> 
account of the Shwam (Damascenes). Let no fear be in thee N 
here amongst us, thy friends ; henna el-Beduw, wa eth-thaif aziz, 
and the guest is as one dearly beloved." 

It was Khalaf Allayda who had fetched and fathered this 
Sleyman the vaccinator, mujeddir. They came riding down 
together upon his thelul with the Haj from Syria, and the 
Beduin's share was to be a third in this profitable adventure. I 
heard the tale from Khalaf's mouth ; he had since a mind to 
have fetched another mujeddir ; but the poor man's heart failed 
him when he saw the Beduwy's gaunt thelul at his door 
and only the wilderness before him. — The Aarab had been 
faithful to Abu Faris, nor envied they the man's good fortune ; 
every one of them paying gladly the ransom for his life from the 
horrible sickness, the fourth part of the mejidy, or a shilling. 
His year ended, they sent him home in peace, with not a little 
substance, which he had gathered amongst them : his cattle 
were driven up before him, by the Beduin herdsmen, to Syria. 

The Arabs, until now using inoculation, being once vacci- 
nated, are in no fear of the disease for the rest of their lives. If 
I said "It is not so sure," they answered, " But it has been ap- 
proved among hundreds, and whosoever was vaccinated with 
the taam (lymph) of Abu Faris, when the jidery (small-pox) 
was in again, wellah ma sdb-hu, it never attained him." The 



LEECHCBAFT AND WITCHCRAFT. 255 

Aarab are cured in their maladies by the hareem, who have all 
some little store of drugs, spices and perfumes, fetched from 
Medina, and their grandam's skill of simples, which are not 
many to find in their desert diras. The nomads had little 
expectation of better remedies in the hands of Khalil, which 
were dearer " government medicines " and strange among them. 
They bade me show my drugs to the hareem who, they sup- 
posed, should certainly know them. The practice of the poor 
affectionate women, is not all (in some malignant husbands* 
surmising) to their health ; men too often ascribe their slow and 
obscure maladies to ' witchcraft of the hareem.' " See, Khalil, 
some patient has said, how dead is my body and wasted : I am 
in doubt of a jealous wife, and that she has given me some cold 
drink." Poisoning is familiar to the criminal imagination of all 
the Arabs. They call medicaments dawwa, as in the settled 
countries ; and the Beduins give the name to those few herbs 
and condiments which they put to their food to give a pleasant 
savour and colour. 

Hirfa, as a principal sheykh's daughter, was reputed to be 
seen in leechcraft. Hirfa one day calling her gossips together, 
they sat down before me to see my medicine-box opened. 
The silly bewildered hareem took my foreign drugs in their 
hands, one by one ; and, smelling to them, they wavered their 
heads with a wifely gravity. And all these they allowed to be 
to them unknown, but sure they were they had smelled out 
haltita, or gum asafcetida, a drug which the Arabs have in 
sovereign estimation. But what was their wonder to see me 
make an effervescing drink ! Hirfa oftentimes entreated me to 
show her gossips this marvellous feat of " boiling water without 
fire." It is strange how, for remedies, the Arabs make no more 
a nice account of halal and harram ; they will take of the unclean 
and even abominable, saying : " dawwa ! it is medicine." These 
Beduins give the sick to eat of the rdkham or small white carrion 
eagle. Upon a day I found a poor woman of our menzil seething 
asses' dung in the pot ; she would give the water to drink with 
milk, to her sick brother : the Arabs think the ass unclean, 
but especially the excrement. 

Now were I to speak of my medical practice plainly, I think 
it a desperation to cure the Arabs, and that a perfect physician 
would hardly be praised amongst them. He is lost whose science 
is slow, and the honest man of few promises ; they will despise 
his doubts and his tentatives. He who would thrive must re- 
semble them, some glozing Asiatic that can file his tongue to 
the baseness of those Semitic minds. Their wild impatience 



256 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

looks to see marvels : the right physician, only handling a 
pulse, they think, should be able to divine a man's state and 
all his past infirmities ; and some specific must he have for every 
disease, because ' there is a salve in Nature for every sore ' ; yet so 
knavish are they that for all his skill they would pay him only 
upon a day which is ever to come. The Arabians are ill 
nourished, and they think themselves always ailing. The no- 
mads live nearly as the wild creatures, without certain diet, and 
they drink infected waters. Few have not some visceral in- 
firmities — el-kibd ; and, the wind breathing upon their nearly 
naked bodies, they are crazed with all kinds of rheums, er-rihh ; 
a name they give to all obscure, aching diseases. Every sick- 
ness they name wajjd, " pain, disease ;" the patient wajjdn. 

Inured from his youth to bodily extremities, the Beduwy 
can suffer a painful malady of years, and will sooner pine still, 
than put away his penny for uncertain cures to the Mudowwy, 
or man of medicine. For these Semites, feeling themselves such 
shrews, have no confidence in man, but in God only : they 
would all see the leech's skill proved upon some other than 
themselves. Thus hardly do any come to the man of medicine till 
he be about to depart from them ; when commonly only the most 
intractable or hopeless cases will be brought before him. Not- 
withstanding, they all love to bibble-babble their infirmities, in 
the wholesome ears of the hakim. As I have walked in Arabian 
villages, some have caught me by the mantle to enquire, " Eigh ! 
thou the apothecary ! canst thou not restore their sight to the 
blind ? " So everywhere they besought me to help some whose 
eyes were perished. It is lawful, they think, to come to the phy- 
sician, and merit to supinely endure a disease, which (by the will 
of Ullah) is come upon them. If I said I had little or no hope 
to relieve them, they responded cheerfully : " El-Hakim (the 
Physician is) Ulmh, He is all-cure ; " — yet some, full of melancholy, 
" Ma ly ghreyr Ullah, what then remaineth unto me but the 
Lord ? " They will give to Ullah the praise of all human service, 
and not pay the apothecary : and they say, " I will pay for no 
medicines, I will pay for the cure ; trust me, Mudowwy, I will 
requite thee at that time as thine own heart can desire." 

It is said in the towns, " the Beduwy' s mind is in his eyes." 
Negligent and impatient, they judge, as they are passionately 
persuaded, in the seeing of the moment, and revert to their 
slumbering indolence. They cannot be persuaded that a little 
powder of quinine should be truly sold for a silverling, when their 
housewives buy their hands full of beggarly drugs at Medina, 
for a piece of small money. Others imagined the Mudowwy 
himself had made all the medicines, of some common earths and 



MEDICINES AND AMULETS. 257 

simples. Where they proved some marvellous effect of a remedy, 
as morphia (a grave anguish relieved with one drop of the 
medicine-water), neither could this move them : for all is as 
nothing, in comparison of God's miracles. Nor enquired they for 
it again of the man of medicine ; since they must pay the second 
time, if only with the gift of a little rice, or with the promise of 
a bowl of sour butter-milk. Others, having received my medi- 
cines, the elves withheld the price ; for all that the Beduin can 
catch of another man's good is his booty. There were some 
so ungracious ones that they have stolen away the cups in 
which, with much pains, I had charitably mixed them medi- 
cines ; poor losses, but that cannot be repaired in the desert. 
So said the men at our homely evening fire, " The people come 
to Khalil's tent for medicines ; and Khalil, not distinguishing 
them, will give to all of them in trust : the people yegotarun, 
go their ways, and he sees them no more, wellah ! Khalil, there 
is no wit in thee at all for buying and selling." 

And were I to wander there again, I would carry with 
me only a few, that are called quack-salving medicines, of an easy 
application and like to specific remedies. Who has not made 
the experience, can hardly think how tedious it is to prepare 
medicines in the wilderness ; in that sun-stricken languishing 
and indigence of all things and often confusion of the nomad 
tent, to weigh out grains in the balance, the sand blowing, 
and there is no pure water : but when the potions are ready and 
the lotions, your nomad patients will hardly be able to find any 
phial, garrora, to receive them. After my return a friend said to 
me, " Your Beduins have a good custom, — I would God we had it 
here ! Let physicians be paid only upon the patients' amend- 
ment ! A bold man to take upon you an art unlearned ! " — " I 
relieved many, the most part freely ; I hurt none ; I have de- 
luded no man." 

All the Aarab would have hijabs sooner than medicaments, 
which they find so unprofitable in the hands of their hareem. 
The Moghrareba, Moors or " Occidental Arabs," are esteemed in 
Arabia, the best scriveners of these magical scriptures ; and the 
people suppose them to be of a wonderful subtlety, in the find- 
ing of hid treasures. There are hijabs for the relief of several 
diseases, and against possession of the jan or earth-demons ; 
also hijabs which should preserve life in dangers, as hijabs 
written against lead. Metaab Ibn Bashid, prince of Shammar 
after his brother Telldl, had worn one of this kind of amulets ; 
and his murderous nephews, who thought they might not pre- 
vail with common shot, killed him therefore with a silver bullet. 
The lieutenant of Turkish soldiery at Kheybar told in my 
d. t. :7 



258 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

hearing, long after, of one who, taken in a revolt at Medina, 
had been sentenced by the military court to be shot. Brought 
forth to execution, the bullets which struck the condemned 
fell down as from a wall, and he remained unwounded : so one 
fired a pistol in his bosom, but the lead fell from him. The 
unhappy man cried out in his suffering, " Sirs ! I have no de- 
fence against iron ! " so they bound him to a cannon's mouth, 
and at the blast, he perished. The Turk swore to us mighty 
oaths he was there, he had seen the thing with his eyes ; and 
others said they had known the like, " ay, billah ! " — Such are 
everyday miracles, heard and confirmed and believed in among 
them. 

The same men catch after charms, that will not pay for medi- 
cine : every wiseacre of them would purchase a hijab with reals, 
even were they the last in his slender purse. The hijabs of famous 
magical men are dear worth ; those grave foreheads make it 
strange, and will profess themselves wonderfully unwilling. They 
are composed (as all things among them take colour of religion) 
out of " God's word," texts chosen in the koran, written cabalis- 
tically. And more than half confident is the well-nosed man, 
who has such a talisman suspended from his flesh, even in the 
greatest hazards. Also hijabs (some of the quaintest you shall 
find were written by Jews) have been used in mediaeval Europe ; 
so are they yet among Oriental Christians. In the Arabic 
border lands there is hardly a child, or almost an animal, which 
is not defended from the evil eye, by a charm. — What ! do we 
not see the like even at this day in Europe ? in all the priests' 
countries yet in bondage. — Such were often their words: "We 
will pay for no medicines, the Arabs are poor folk ; but here is 
my three reals — wellah, I would bring five and lay them down, 
so thou write me an hijab such as I desire : " and before other 
they would have philters of dishonest love. They could well 
imagine, that the outlandish Nasrany man might write them 
a quick spell, more than another : and they thought it a marvel, 
poor as they saw me, that I constantly denied them sharply, 
when with the draught of a reed I might have enriched myself. 
Yet if I said, " Should a man meddle in things pertaining to the 
Providence of Ullah ? " then the best among them, as Moslems, 
assented devoutly. 

Beduins sometimes gave me their hands, supposing I should 
be skilled in palmistry, and prayed me to read their life-lot, 
' whether it were fallen well to them.' Some vain young men 
would have me divine of their faces, saying, ' Saw I any likeness 
in them to lucky persons ? ' Mankind, after the Arabs' opinion, 
may be vexed in their bodies and minds by possession of the jan, 



THE JAN. 259 

of which they say " half are malignant and a half good demons, ay 
and Moslemin.'' They inhabit seven stages, which (as the seven 
heavens above) is the building of the under-world. Strange 
maladies and lunatic affections are ascribed to their influence ; 
scorned and bewildered persons are said to be " be-jinned," 
mejnun, demoniacs. Every disease asketh a remedy, and there are 
also exorcists for the mejnuns in Arabia : — be there not some, in 
these days, in our bell-and-candle Europe ! — By " reading " power- 
ful spells, out of the * scripture of God " over those sick persons, 
they would have us believe they can " put in fear and drive out " 
the possessing demons. Many have come and entreated me to 
use that ability, to the relief of some of their next kindred ; 
and these persons received, with hateful looks, my simple denial, 
protesting hardly, " it was but of an evil meaning towards them 
that I would not vouchsafe this kindness to the Moslemin." 

The nomad's mind is ever in the ghrazzu ; the knave would 
win, and by whose loss he recks not, neither with what impro- 
bity : men in that squalid ignorance and extreme living, be- 
come wild men. The Aarab are not all thus ; but, after their 
strait possibility, there are virtuous and higher human spirits, 
amongst them ; especially of the well-faring and sheykhs, men 
enfranchised from the pining daily carefulness of their liveli- 
hood, bred liberally and polished in the mejlis, and entertainers 
of the public guests. Human life, where the poor hardly 
find passage by foul and cragged ways, full of cruel gins, is 
spread out more evenly before them. These are the noblemen 
of the desert, men of ripe moderation, peacemakers of a certain 
erudite and subtle judgment. 

Pleasant, as the fiery heat of the desert daylight is done, 
is our homely evening fire. The sun gone down upon a high- 
land steppe of Arabia, whose common altitude is above three 
thousand feet, the thin dry air is presently refreshed, the sand 
is soon cold ; wherein yet at three fingers' depth is left a sunny 
warmth of the past day's heat until the new sunrise. After 
a half hour it is the blue night, and clear hoary starlight in 
which there shines the girdle of the milky way, with a mar- 
vellous clarity. As the sun is setting, the nomad housewife 
brings in a truss of sticks and dry bushes, which she has 
pulled or hoed with a mattock (a tool they have seldom) in 
the wilderness ; she casts down this provision by our hearth- 
side, for the sweet-smelling evening fire. But to Hirfa, his 
sheykhly young wife, Zeyd had given a little Beduin maid to 
help her. The housewife has upon her woman's side an hearth 
apart, which is the cooking-fire. Commonly Hirfa baked then, 

17—2 



260 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

under the ashes, a bread-cake for the stranger : Zeyd her 
husband, who is miserable, or for other cause, eats not yet, 
but only near midnight, as he is come again from the mejlis 
and would go in to sleep. 

At this first evening hour, the Beduw are all fi ahl-ha, 
in their households, to sup of such wretchedness as they may 
have ; there is no more wandering through the wide encamp- 
ment, and the coming in then of any persons, not strangers, 
were an unseemly " ignorance." The foster-camels lie couched, 
before the booth of hair : and these Beduins let them lie still 
an hour, before the milking. The great feeble brutes have 
wandered all day upon the droughty face of the wilderness ; 
they may hardly crop their fills, in those many hours, of so 
slender pastures. The mare stands tethered before the booth at 
the woman's side, where there is not much passage. Such dry 
wire-grass forage as they find in that waste, is cast down 
beside her. When the Arabs have eaten their morsel and 
drunken leban of the flock, the few men of our menzil begin to 
assemble about the sheykh's hearth, where is some expectation of 
coffee. The younger or meanest of the company, who is sitting 
or leaning on his elbow or lies next the faggot, will indolently 
reach back his hand from time to time for more dry rimth, to 
cast on the fire, and other sweet resinous twigs, till the flaming 
light leaps up again in the vast uncheerful darkness. The 
nomads will not burn the good pasture bushes, gussha, even 
in their enemies' country. It is the bread of the cattle. I have 
sometimes unwittingly offended them, until I knew the plants, 
plucking up and giving to the flames some which grew in the 
soil nigh my hand ; then children and women and the men of 
little understanding blamed me, and said wondering, " It was an 
heathenish deed." 

Glad at the fall of the empty daylight, the householders sit 
again to make talk, or silent and listless, with the drooping 
gravity of brute animals. Old men, always weary, and the 
herdmen, which were all day abroad in the sun, are lying 
now upon an elbow (this is the right Aarab posture, and which 
Zeyd would have me learn and use), about the common fire. 
But the reposing of the common sort at home is to lie heels out 
backward, about the hearth, as the spokes of a wheel, and flat 
upon their bellies (which they even think appeases the gnawing 
of hunger) ; and a little raising themselves, they discourse stay- 
ing upon their breasts and two elbows : thus the men of this 
lean nation will later sleep, spreading only their tattered 
cloaks under them, upon the wild soil (beled), a posture even 
reproved by themselves. Beled, we saw in the mouth of the 



THE NOMAD MILK SUPPEB. 261 

nomads, is the inhabited soil of the open desert and also of the 
oasis ; they say of the dead, " He is under the beled." Dira, the 
Beduin circuit, is heard also in some oases for their town settle- 
ment. — I asked Zeyd, " Then say ye the beled is our mother ? " — 
" Ay well, and surely, Khalil ; for out of the ground took God 
man and all return thither." They asking me of our custom, 
I said " You are ground-sitters, but we sit high upon stools 
like the Turk." — The legs of chair-sitters to hang all day they 
thought an insufferable fatigue. " Khalil says well," answered 
Zeyd, who, a sheykh of Aarab, had been in |^igh presence of 
pashas and government men at Damascus ; and he told how 
he found them sitting in arm-chairs and (they are all cross- 
leg Orientals) with a leg crossed over the other, a shank or 
a foot : ' a simple crossed foot is of the under functionaries : 
but to lap a man's shin, (Zeyd showed us the manner,) he 
said to be of their principal personages.' The Arabs asked 
me often, if we sat gathered in this kindly sort about our 
evening fires ? and if neighbours went about to neighbour 
byut, seeking company of friends and coffee-drinking ? 

Sitting thus, if there anyone rises, the mare snorts softly, 
looking that it is he who should now bring her delicious bever 
of warm camel-milk, and gazing after him, she whinnies with 
pleasance. There is a foster camel to every nomad mare, since 
they taste no corn, and the harsh desert stalks could not else 
sustain her : the horse, not ruminating and losing much moisture 
by the skin, is a creature very impatient of hunger and thirst. 
His mare is therefore not a little chargeable to a sheykh in 
the desert, who must burden oftentimes another camel with her 
provision of water. Twice she will drink, and at the hottest of 
the summer season, even thrice in a daylight ; and a camel-load 
of girbies may hardly water her over two days. Who has wife 
or horse, after the ancient proverb, may rue, he shall never be 
in rest, for such brittle possessions are likely to be always ailing. 
Yet under that serene climate, where the element is the tent of 
the world, the Beduw have little other care of their mares ; it is 
unknown in the desert so much as to rub them. They milk 
first for the mare and then (often in the same vessel) for 
the nomad household. She stands straining upon her tether, 
looking toward the pleasant sound of milking : the bowl froth- 
ing from the udder is carried to her in the herdsman's hand 
and she sups through her teeth the sweet warm milk, at a long 
draught. The milking time of camels is but once in the day, at 
evening, unless a little be drawn for some sick person or stranger 
in the morning, or for any wayfaring man in the daytime. The 
small cattle, ghrannen or dubbush, are milked at sunset ; only in 



262 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

rich spring districts, the housewives may draw their teats again 
in the morning. The dubbush are milked by their housewives, 
the milch camels by the men and lads only. Spring is the 
milky season, when men and beasts, (if the winter rain failed 
not) fare at the best in the wilderness. With small cattle, 
it lasts only few weeks from the yeaning till the withering 
of the year be again upon them, when the herb is dried up ; but 
the camel kine are nearly eleven months in milk. 

So needful is the supplement of milk to the desert horses, 
that when, in the dry summer or at some other low times, the 
camels are driven wide from the standing menzil to be azab, 
absent certain days, that is in quest of pasture, the mare also is 
led along with them in her master's troop, to drink the foster 
milk. But if the sheykh have need of his mare then at home, 
he will nourish her, as he may, without the wet-nurse, mixing at 
evening a bowl of mereesy or dry milk rubbed in water. Mereesy 
is the butter-milk of the flock, dried by boiling to the hard 
shard, and resembles chalk. It is a drink much to thank God 
for, in lean times, and in the heat of the year, in the wilderness ; 
in the long dead months when there is no milk, it is every day 
dearer and hard to be come by. Excellent to take upon journeys, 
mereesy is gipsy drink and no dainty in the border countries ; 
but in the Arabian oases it is much esteemed to use with their 
unwholesome date diet, which alone were too heating. Mereesy 
(' that which rubbed between the palms of the hands, can be 
mingled with water,') or dry milk, is called by many other 
names in the provinces of Arabia, as thiran and buggila, baggl, 
in West Nejd ; in the South and towards Mecca, muthir. 
Butter is the poor nomads' market ware : with this they can 
buy somewhat in the towns for their household necessities. 
Having only mereesy in the saddle-bags and water before us 
every third day on the road, I have not doubted to set out 
upon long voyages in the khala. Mereesy will remain unaltered 
till the next season ; it is good in the second year, only growing 
harder. The best were to grind it to flour, as they do in 
Kasim ; and this stirred, with a little sugar, in a bowl of the 
desert water is a grateful refreshment after the toil and heat 
of the desert journey. 

A pleasure it is to listen to the cheerful musing Beduin 
talk, a lesson in the travellers' school of mere humanity, — and 
there is no land so perilous which by humanity he may not pass, 
for man is of one mind everywhere, ay, and in their kind, even 
the brute animals of the same foster earth — a timely vacancy 
of the busy-idle cares which cloud upon us that would live 
peaceably in the moral desolation of the world. And pleasant 



SONGS AND TALES OF THE AARAB. 263 

those sounds of the spretting milk under the udders in the Arabs' 
vessels ! food for man and health at a draught in a languishing 
country. The bowl brought in foaming, the children gather to 
it, and the guest is often bidden to sup with them, with his 
fingers, the sweet froth, orghra or roghrwa, irtugh : or this milk 
poured into the sour milk-skin and shaken there a moment, 
the housewife serves it forth again to their suppers, with that 
now gathered sourness which they think the more refreshing. 

The nomad's eyes are fixed upon the crude congruity of 
Nature ; even the indolence in them is austere. They speak of 
the things within their horizon. Those loose " Arabian tales " 
of the great border-cities, were but profane ninnery to their 
stern natural judgments. Yet so much they have of the Semitic 
Oriental vein, without the doting citizen fantasy, that many 
dream all their lives of hidden treasures ; wealth that may fall 
to them upon a day out of the lap of heaven. Instead of the 
cities' taling, the Aarab have their braying rhapsodies, which 
may be heard in every wild nomad hamlet, as those of the 
Beny Helal. The Arabs are very credulous of all that is told 
beyond their knowledge, as of foreign countries. All their 
speech is homely ; they tell of bygone forays and of adventures 
in their desert lives. You may often hear them in their tale 
quote the rhythms between wisdom and mirth of the kasasid 
(riming desert poets without letters) ; the best are often widely 
current among the tribes. In every tribe are makers : better 
than any in this country were the kassads of Bishr. The kassdd 
recites, and it is a pleasant adulation of the friendly audience to 
take up his last words in every couplet. In this poetical elo- 
quence I might not very well, or hardly at all, distinguish what 
they had to say ; it is as strange language. The word shder, he 
that ' feeleth,' a poet, is unused by them : the Beduins knew not 
the word, Zeyd answered "it is nademT The Beduin singer 
draws forth stern and horrid sounds from the rabeyby or viol of 
one bass string, and delivers his mind, braying forcedly in the 
nose. It is doubtless a very archaic minstrelsy, in these lands, 
but a hideous desolation to our ears. It is the hinds, all day 
in the wilderness with the cattle, who sing most lustily h? 
their evening home-coming to the humanity of the byut. ] 
often asked for a kasida of Abeyd Ibn Kashid, and have found 
no singer in this country who was not ready with some of 
them. The young herdsmen of Zeyd's menzil would chant for 
the stranger the most evening-times the robust hadu, or herding- 
song. [This word rabeyby is perhaps the Spaniard's rabel, and 
that was in Ancient England revel, rebibel.] The Beduw make 
the instrument of any box-frame they may have from the towns ; 



264 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

a stick is thrust through, and in this they pierce an eye above 
for the peg ; a kid-skin is stretched upon the hollow box ; the 
hoarse string is plucked from the mare's tail ; and setting under 
a bent twig, for the bridge, their music is ready. 

The nomad's fantasy is high, and that is ever clothed in 
religion. They see but the indigence of the open soil about, 
full of dangers, and hardly sustaining them, and the firma- 
ment above them, habitation of the Divine salvation. These 
Ishmaelites have a natural musing conscience of the good 
and evil, more than other men ; but none observe them less in 
all their dealings with mankind. The civil understanding of 
the desert citizens is found in their discourse (tempered between 
mild and a severe manly grace) and liberal behaviour. A few 
turns and ornaments of their speech, come suddenly to my 
remembrance : gently in contradiction, la ! Ullah yesellimk, 
" Nay, the Lord give thee peace ; " in correction, la! Ullah hadik, 
"The Lord lead thee;" and in both, Ullah yerham weyladeyk, 
" The Lord show mercy to thy deceased parentage ; " or yuhady 
weyladeyk iV ej-jinna, " Lead in thy parents to the paradise." 
Wonder, as all their Semitic life, has the voice of religion, 
Ullah ! " The Lord ! " Ana ushhud, " I do bear witness ! " Yuk- 
dur Ullah! " The Lord is able." Rahmat Ullah! " The Lord 
His mercy ! " and very often the popular sort will say, (a Beduin- 
ism that is received with laughter in the towns,) ana efla yow- 
wella ! — which I leave to Arabists. When weary they sigh ya 
Rubby ! "Ah my Lord ! " Lovers of quietness at home, their 
words are peace, and still courteous in argument ; wa low, 
" And if it were so ; " sellimt, " I grant it you." Confession of 
faulty error through ignorance, udkhul aV Ullah, "If I said 
amiss, the Lord is my refuge." A word of good augury to the 
wayfaring and stranger ; Ullah yuwasselak b'il-kheyer, " God 
give thee to arrive well." InsW Ullah ma teshuf es-shurr, " It 
may please the Lord that you see not the evil ! " Ullah yeth- 
kirak Vil-kheyer ? " The Lord remember thee for good ! " Beduish 
giving of thanks are: dfy aleyk, el-dfy, " I wish thee heartily 
health ! " or, jizak Ullah kheyer, " God give thee good chance ! " 
The nomads, at leisure and lively minds, have little other than 
this study to be eloquent. Their utterance is short and with 
emphasis. There is a perspicuous propriety in their speech, 
with quick significance. The Arabian town-dwellers contemn this 
boisterous utterance of the sons of the wilderness ; they them- 
selves are fanatic sectators of the old koran reading. Asiatics, 
the Aarab are smiling speakers. All Beduin talk is one manner 
of Arabic, but every tribe has a use, loghra, and neighbours are 
ever chiders of their neighbours' tongue. " The speech of them, 



THE BEDUINS' TALK. 265 

they will say, is somewhat ' awry,' awaj." In the mouth of the 
Fukara sheykhs, was a lisping of the terminal consonants. The 
Moahib talk was open and manly. In that dry serenity of the 
air, and largely exercised utterance of the many difficult articu- 
lations of their language, the human voice, hess, is here mostly 
clear and well-sounding ; unless it be in some husk choking 
throat of heart-sore misery. 

There is as well that which is displeasing in their homely 
talk. The mind is distempered by idleness and malice : they 
will hardly be at pains to remember suddenly, in speech, 
their next tribesman's name ; and with this is their bar- 
barous meddling curiosity, stickling mistrust one of another 
and beggarly haggling for any trifle, with glosing caresses, 
(would they obtain a thing, and which are always in guile,) im- 
pudent promises and petulant importunity. And their hypocrite 
iniquitous words, begetting the like, often end in hideous 
clamour, which troubling " the peace of Ullah " in the nomad 
booth, are rebuked by the silent impatience of the rest, of whom 
the better will then proffer themselves as peace-makers. The 
herdsmen's tongue is full of infantile raillery and, in sight and 
hearing of the other sex, of jesting ribaldry : they think it 
innocent mirth, since it is God that has founded thus our nature. 
Semites, it is impossible that they should ever blaspheme, 
in manner of those of our blood, against the Heavenly Pro- 
vidence. Semitic religion is the natural growth of the soil in 
their Semitic souls ; in which is any remiss, farewell life's luck, 
farewell his worldly estimation : their criminal hearts are capa- 
ble of all mischief, only not of this enormous desperation to lede 
the sovereign majesty of Ullah. Out of that religious per- 
suasion of theirs that a man's life should be smitten to death, 
who is rebel unto God and despiser of the faith, comes the 
sharp danger of our travelling among them ; where of every ten, 
there is commonly some one, making religion of his peevish 
bestiality, who would slay us, (which all men may do religiously 
and help divine justice). But otherwise they all day take God's 
name in vain (as it was perhaps in ancient Israel), confirming 
every light and laughing word with cheerful billahs. The 
herdsmen's grossness is never out of the Semitic nature, the 
soul of them is greedy first of their proper subsistence and then 
of their proper increase. Though Israel is scattered among the 
most polite nations, who has not noted this humour in them ? 
Little Joseph is a tale-bearer to their father of his brethren's 
lewd conversation in the field ; such are always the Semitic 
nomads. Palestine, the countries beyond Jordan and Edom, 
given to the children and nephews of Abraham, spued out the 



266 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

nations which dwelled before in them, and had denied the land : 
the Beny Israel are admonished, lest the soil cast out them also. 
In Moses is remembered the nomad offence of lying with cattle ; 
the people are commanded to put away guiltiness from the land 
by stoning them : in Arabia that is but a villanous mock, and 
which the elder sort acknowledge with groans and cursing. The 
pastoral race being such, Israel must naturally slide back from 
Moses' religion to the easy and carnal idolatry of the old 
Canaanites. 

To speak of the Arabs at the worst, in one word, the mouth 
of the Arabs is full of cursing and lies and prayers ; their heart 
is a deceitful labyrinth. We have seen their urbanity ; gall and 
venom is in their least ill-humour ; disdainful, cruel, outrageous 
is their malediction. " Curse Ullah, thy father (that is better 
than thou), the father of the likes of thee ! burn thy father ! 
this is a man fuel for hell-burning ! bless thee not God ! 
make thee no partaker of His good ! thy house fall upon 
thee ! " I have heard one, in other things a very worthy 
man, in such form chide his unruly young son : " Ullah rip 
up that belly in thee ! Curse the father (thy body) of that 
head and belly ! Punish that hateful face ! " And I have 
heard one burden another thus ; " Curse thee all the angels, 
curse thee all the Moslemin, let all the heathen curse thee ! " 
The raging of the tongue is natural to the half-feminine Semitic 
race. The prophet prayeth against some which disquieted him : 
" Pour out their blood by the sword, let their children con- 
sume with famine, their women be childless and their wives 
widows : they shall cry out from the houses as the ghrazzu 
is suddenly upon them. Forgive not, Lord, their trespass, give 
to them trouble of spirit, destroy them from under the heaven, 
and let Thy very curse abide upon them." Another holy man 
curses to death petulant children. The Aarab confirm all their 
words by oaths, which are very brittle, and though they say 
Wa hydt Ullah, " As the Lord liveth," or a man swear by him- 
self, aly lahyaty, or Wa hydt diikny, " Upon (the honour of) 
my beard." He will perform such oaths if they cost him nothing, 
this is if he be not crossed in the mean while, or have become 
unwilling. If a man swear by his religion, it is often lightly 
and with mental reservation. For the better assurance of a 
promise they ask and give the hand ; it is a visible pledge. So 
in Ezekiel, the sheukh of the captivity promise and plight their 
hands. A Beduin will swear to some true matter Wellahi, or 
doubly, which is less to trust, Wellahi -Billahi. It is a word he 
will observe if he may, for nothing can bind them against their 
own profit ; and they may lawfully break through all at an 






BEDUIN OATHS OF GOOD FAITH. 267 

extremity. Another form is Wullah-Bullah, often said in mock- 
ing uncertainty and hypocrisy. That is a faithful form of 
swearing which they call halif yemin : one takes a grass 
stalk in his fist, and his words are : " Wa hydt hatha el-aud, By 
the life of this stem, waW-rubb el-mabud, and the adorable 
Lord." When I have required new wayfaring companions to 
swear me this at the setting out, and add inny ma adeshurak, " I 
will not (for any hap) forsake thee," they have answered, " Our 
lot is one whilst we are in the way, whether to live or die 
together ; and what more can I say, I will conduct thee thither, 
but I die, and by very God I will not forsake thee." I laid hold 
on their hands and compelled them, but they swore (to a kafir) 
unwillingly ; and some have afterward betrayed me : when then 
I reproached them to the heart, they answered me, " Oaths 
taken to a kafir be not binding ! " Magnanimous fortitude in a 
man, to the despising of death, where his honour is engaged, 
were in their seeing the hardihood of a madman : where mortal 
brittleness is fatally overmatched we have a merciful God, 
and human flesh, they think, may draw back from the unequal 
contention. 

To clear himself of an unjust suspicion one will say to the 
other, " There is nothing between us but Ullah." Like words 
we hear from gentle Jonathan's mouth, in his covenant with the 
climbing friend David. Certain oaths there are, which being 
received by the custom of the tribes as binding, are not violated 
by any honourable person. And, to tell the little which I have 
ascertained in this kind, — a Beduin, put in trust of another man's 
cattle, often some villager, will give up his yearly tale of the 
increase without fraud, under a solemn obtestation which he 
durst not elude, the owner having also traced a ring about 
him with his sword. If aught be missing in the nomad menzil, 
the owner of that which is lost or strayed may require of whom 
he will an oath of denial, as Ahab took an oath of his neighbours, 
who are called " every nation and kingdom," that his subject and 
enemy, Elias, was not found amongst them. I have seen some 
under an imputation go with the accuser to the hearth to give 
his answer ; this they call to swear upon their swords. It is 
over certain lines, which they trace with their weapon in the 
ashes ; a cross mark in a circle © ; therewith taking a handful 
from the ash-pit. It is an oath such, that the complainant must 
thereafter yield himself satisfied. Zeyd accused of devouring 
his neighbours' substance, which was not seldom, would cheer- 
fully, with a faultless countenance, spread and smooth out upon 
the soil the lap of his mantle, and clapping down his flat palm 
upon it, he cried, " Ha ! " and proffered himself all ready to swear 



268 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

that this was not so, there was nothing of the other's ownership, 
Well&h ! in his hold. Oaths of the desert there are some held 
binding between enemies. I knew a B. Atieh man guesting with 
the Moahib, who in time when they lay friendly encamped to- 
gether with the Fejir, was admitted to converse freely amongst 
these his natural foemen, when he had sworn his oath at the 
hearth, before Motlog, that he would not practise against them. 
This matter of oaths is that in the nomad commonwealth which 
I have least searched out ; even the solemn forms, conjuring 
quarter and a magnanimous protection. Although Beduins 
often questioned me, what our words were in these cases, yet 
ever, as God would have it, to the last, I neglected to enquire 
the like of themselves again. At every moment, when they 
gave me their minds, I had rather ascertain all that I might 
of the topography of their country ; having less care of the rest, 
as never thinking to entreat for my life of any man. 

Besides, there are certain gestures used among them, which 
are tokens of great significance. I smooth my beard toward 
one to admonish him, in his wrongful dealing with me, and have 
put him in mind of his honour. If I touch his beard, I put him 
in remembrance of our common humanity and of the witness of 
God which is above us. Beard is taken in Arabia for human 
honour, and to pluck it is the highest indignity ; of an honest 
man they say, lahyat-hu taiba, " His is a good beard ;" of a vile 
covetous heart ma lihu lahya, " He has no beard." The sup- 
pliant who may bind, as I have heard, a certain knot in the 
other's kerchief, has saved himself : and were the other the avenger 
for blood, yet he must forbear for God ! Kiss an angry man's 
forehead, and his rancour will fall ; but the adversary must be 
taken by surprise, or he will put forth stern hostile hands to op- 
pose thee. Surely a very ancient example of the Semitic sacra- 
mental gestures is that recorded of Abraham, who bids his 
steward put the hand under his thigh, to make his oath sure. 
A simple form of requiring an honourable tolerance and protec- 
tion is to say ; Ana nuzilak. " I have alighted at thy tent," or 
say where thou fearest treachery, ana nusik, and again, Ana hi 
wejhak ya sheykh, " Sir, I am under thy countenance ; " more 
solemnly, and touching him, Terdny billdh ya sheykh ; wa bak 
ana dakhilak, which may signify, " By the Lord thou seest me, 
and I do enter, Sir, under thy protection." In my long dangerous 
wanderings in the Arabian peninsula I have thrice said this one 
word dakhilak : twice when, forsaken in the deserts, I came to 
strange tents of Heteym (they are less honourable than Beduins, 
and had repulsed me) ; once to the captain of the guard at 
Hayil, w T hen I was maltreated by the emir's slaves in the market- 



THE ARAB LEAVE-TAKING. 269 

place. He immediately drove them from me ; and in the former 
adventure it made that I was received with tolerance. 

As above said, the nomads will confirm every word with an 
oath, as commonly wa hydt, ' By the life of ; ' but this is not in 
the Wahaby country, where every oath which is by the life of 
any creature they hold to be " idolatry." They swear wa hydt, 
even of things inanimate ; ' By the life of this fire, or of this 
coffee,' hydtak, " By thy life," wa hydt rukbaty, " By the life of 
my neck," are common affirmations in their talk. Wa hydt ibny 
men rarely say, and not lightly, " By my son's life." Wa hydt 
weyladich, " Life of thy child," is a womanish oath of Billi 
mothers one to another at every third word ; and a gossip 
says tenderly, wa hydt weylady, " By my child's life : " I have 
heard a Beduin woman testify to her child thus, " By the 
life of thy father, who begat thee upon me!" In the biblical 
authors, Joseph makes protestation to his brethren " By 
the life of Pharaoh," and later that is common in them " as 
the Lord liveth;" Jehovah promises under the same form, 
" As I live, saith the Lord." In every tribe there is a man- 
ner, even in this part of their speech. The Moahib, who, like 
their Billi neighbours, are amiable speakers, use to swear, 
not lightly, by the divine daylight and the hour of prayer, as 
wa hydt el-missieh hatha, " By this (little) sun-setting hour." 
The Beduw will put off importunity with much ill humour, 
saying, furrka or furr'k ayn abuy. Unruly children are checked 
with subbak ! they will answer yussbak ent. Full of ribaldry, the 
Aarab will often say in a villanous scorn kuss marrathu, " his 
wife's nakedness for him," or ummhu, " his mother's nakedness." 
My Medina host at Kheybar, who otherwise was a good worthy 
man, would snib his only son tyrannically and foully with this 
reproach of his deceased mother, whom he had loved. The bibli- 
cal Saul, justly incensed, also reviles his son by the nakedness 
of his mother, a perverse and rebellious woman, and Jonathan 
her son rose from his father's dish and departed in fierce anger. 

The Aarab 's leave-taking is wonderfully ungracious to the 
European sense, and austere. The Arab, until now so gentle a 
companion, will turn his back with stony strange countenance 
to leave thee for ever. Also the Arabs speak the last words as 
they have turned the back ; and they pass upon their way not 
regarding again. This is their national usage, and not of a 
barbarous inhumanity ; nay, it were for thee to speak when any 
departs company, saying : " Go in peace." You have not eaten 
together, there was nothing then between you why this must 
take his leave ; all men being in their estimation but simple 
grains, under the Throne of God, of the common seed of 



2 ;o TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

humanity. But the guest will say as he goes forth, and having 
turned his face, with a frank simplicity, nesellem aleyk, " We bid 
thee peace." The Arabs are little grateful for the gift which is 
not food, receive they with never so large a hand ; "So little ! 
they will say, put to, put to ; " but the gentler spirits will cry Out 
soon, bess ! wdjed ! heffy ! " enough, there is found, it sufficeth 
me heartily." 



CHAPTER X. 



THE NOMADS IN THE DESERT ; VISIT TO TEYMA. 

A formidable year for the Fukara. The tribe in the North. Enigma of 
the Nasrdny. The Saiehh or World's Wanderer. Damascus the ' World's 
Paradise.' The Nasrdny, whether a treasure seeker, or a spy. ' The Lord 
give victory to the Sooltan.' The horses of the Nasdra are pack-horses. The 
Fejir reckoned a tribe of horsemen. They dread, hearing of our armed 
multitudes. The War in the Crimea. ' The flesh of the Nasdra better than 
theirs.' How should the Nasdra live not having the date in their land ? The 
Nasdra inhabit land beyond seven floods. ' The stranger to the wolf.' 
The Nasrdny in the land of the Beduw. They wondered that we carry no arms 
in our own country. The Lappish nomads and the Arctic dxra. The land of the 
Nasdra very populous. Shooting stars fall upon the heads of the kuffdr. 
Art-Indian. The camel wounded beyond cure. The " desert fiends." Nomad 
deposits in the deserts. The Solubbies. Precept of their patriarch. Their land- 
craft and hunting in which they surpass the Aarab. They want not. Journey 
for provisions to Teyma. The Beny Kelb. The green oasis in sight. The orchard 
towers. Teyma, a colony of Shammar, very prosperous. Their wells are of the 
ancients. Teyma of the Jeivs, (the Biblical Tema). The townspeople. The Nejd 
coffee fire. The coffee hall. The viol forbidden in the estates of Ibn RasMd. 
Rahyel, marriage of a Beduwy sheykh and a townswoman. The moon eclipsed. 
Ibn Rashid's Resident. Stately carriage of the Shammar Princes. The slave 
trade. A building of antique Teyma. Inscription. The Haddj. The Suany. 
Sleymdn and the hareem of his household. An untimely grave. Teyma husbandry. 
Teyma fruits given to any stranger, but not sold. Teyma dates. Dates are 
currency. Sons of Damascenes at Teyma. Kasr Zellum. Inscription with eyes. 
The oasis a loam bottom. Way to Jauf. The evening company. They blame 
the religion of the Nasdra. Religion of the Messiah. A wedder of fifteen wives. 
The Mosaic commandments. The ancient scriptures they say to be falsified by us. 
" The People of the Scriptures." Biblical Teyma. The tribesmen depart from 
Teyma by night. The Fukara in fear of Ibn RasMd forsake their dxra. 

This was a formidable year for the Fukara : they were in 
dread of Ibn Rashid ; they feared also that Kheybar would be 
barred to them, — " Kheybar the patrimony of Annezy," from 
whence those tribes in the South eat (the date fruit), eight in the 
twelve months. Besides it was a year of locusts. The tribesmen 



272 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 



disputed in the mejlis, " should they go up anew to the Hauran," 
the land of bread ; and that which they call, (nearly as nomad 
Israel coming from the lower deserts,) " The good Land of the 
North, where is milk enough ; " this is Sham or High Syria. 
They would remain as before in the Niggera (Batanea,) which is 
in the marches of their kinsmen the northern half-tribe of W. Aly : 
they count it fifteen removes, journeying with all their cattle 
and families, beyond Teyma. They had few years before forsaken 
their land upon this occasion : the Fejir in a debate with their 
sister tribe, the southern W. Aly, had set upon them at Dar 
el-Hamra, and taken their camels. Many were slain, and the 
mishandled kinsmen, appealing to Ibn Eashid, the Prince gave 
judgment that satisfaction be made. The Aarab will hardly 
restore a gotten booty, especially where there is evil meaning 
between them ; and to live without fear of the Emir, they 
withdrew to a far-off Syrian country, where slenderly clad 
and not inured to that harsh and longer winter, and what for a 
contagious fever which happened in the second year, there 
perished many among them ; the most, as it is the weak which 
go to the wall, were poor Fehjat, wretches whom the iniquity 
of fortune ceases not to pursue until the end of all natural 
evils. — The Fehjat buried, in the north, the half of their 
grown males, which were twenty persons. There is always 
living with the northern W. Aly, a body of the Fukara, el~ 
Kleyb, sheykh Fendy, which for a blood feud with Bishr, might 
not inherit their own country. 

The presence of the Nasrany in land of the Aarab was an 
enigma to them ; they put me to the question with a thousand 
sudden demands, which were often checked by the urbanity of 
the rest. ' At what distance (they enquired), in which part lay my 
country ? ' I said, " A thelul rider might alight among my neigh- 
bours, a little before the year's end." — They had not thought 
the world was so large! So they said," Khalil's country lies at 
very great distance, and can it be he has passed all that great 
way, only to visit the Aarab ! now what can this mean ? Tell us 
by Ullah, Khalil, art thou not come to spy out the country ? 
For there will no man take upon himself immense fatigues 
for naught. Khalil, say it once, what thy purpose is ? Art 
thou not some banished man ? comest thou of thine own will, 
or have other sent thee hither ? — Khalil loves well the Mos- 
lemin, and yet these books of his be what ? Also, is he not 
' writing ' the country as he has ' written up ' el-Hejr and el- 
Ally ? " I said, " I was living at Damascus and am a Sdiehh ; is 
not the saiehh a walker about the world ? — and who will say him 
nay ! also I wander wilfully." — " Now well ! Khalil is a Suwahh ; 



DAMASCUS THE WORLD'S PARADISE. 273 

wander where you list, Khalil, and keep to the settled countries, 
there is nothing to hinder ; but come not into the wilderness of 
the Beduw ; for there you will be stripped and they will cut thy 
throat : wellah, in all the desert no man fears to kill a stranger ; 
what then when they know that thou art a Nasrany ! — A suwahh ! 
eigh ! but the Aarab are so ignorant that this will not help 
thee ; a day may come, Khalil, the end of all this rashness, when 
someone will murder thee miserably ! " — Sdiehh in the Moham- 
medan countries is God's wanderer, who, not looking back to 
his worldly interest, betakes himself to the contemplative life's 
pilgrimage. They would not hold me for a derwish. '-Nay, 
said they, derawish are of small or no regard ; but Khalil was 
a care to the Dowla." Also they had word I was some rich 
man in Damascus. How then, they wondered, could I forsake 
Damascus, jinnat ed-dinnea, "the world's garden or paradise," to 
dwell in the waste land of the Aarab ! — It is always a melancholy 
fantasy of the upland Arabians, who have seen or heard any- 
thing of the plentiful border provinces, to complain of their own 
extreme country. The Southern Arabs lead their lives in long 
disease of hunger and nakedness : to see good days in the 
northern land, which is watered with seasonable rains and. is wet 
with the dew of heaven, they think should be a wonderful 
sweetness. The " garden " of all is Damascus, the Arabs' belly - 
cheer " paradise " ; for there is great cheap of all that can ease a 
poor man, which is food and raiment. And such, as Semites, 
is all they intend, in their word of Damascus, " the garden or 
paradise." 

I passed for a seeker of treasure with some who had seen 
me sitting under the great acacia, which they believe to be* 
possessed by the jan, at el-Hejr ; now they said to me, " Didst 
thou take up anything, Khalil, tell us boldly ? " and a neighbour 
whispered in my ear, " Tell thy counsel to me only, good Khalil,. 
and I will keep it close." — " There is no lore, I answered, to : find 
treasures ; your finders are I know not what ignorant sots, and so 
are all that believe in their imposture." — " God wot it may be so ; 
Khalil is an honest-speaking man ; — but in roaming up and down, 
you lighted upon naught ? Hearken ! we grant you are disinterest- 
ed — have patience ! and say only, if you find a thing will you not 
give some of it to your uncle Zeyd ? " — " The whole, I promise 
you." — " Wellah, in Khalil's talk is sincerity, but what does he, 
always asking of the Aarab an hundred vain questions?- — Though 
thou shouldst know, Khalil, the name of all our camping 
grounds and of every jebel, what were all this worth when thou 
art at home, in a far country ? If thou be'st no spy, how can 
the Aarab think thee a man of good understanding?" In other 
d. T. 18 



274 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

times and places whilst I was yet a stranger little known among 
them, the Beduin people did not always speak so mildly, many 
murmured and several tribesmen have cruelly threatened that 
' could it be known, I came about spying the land, they would 
cast me, billah, on a fire, with my books, and burn all together.' 
In such case, they might break the cobweb customs of hospi- 
tality : the treacherous enemy is led forth, and drawn to the 
hindward of the tent there they cut his throat. Many times 
good Beduin friends predicted to me this sharp ending of 
my incurable imprudence, when leaving their friendly tribes I 
should pass through strange diras : but as I lingered long in 
the country, I afterward came almost no-whither, where some 
fair report was not already wafted before me. " Friends, I have 
said, I am come to you in no disguises ; I have hidden nothing 
from you ; I have always acknowledged myself a Nasrany, which 
was a name infamous among you." And they : " Well, but the 
war with those of your kindred and the Sooltan ! — Is he not 
killing up the Nasara like sheep flocks ? so God give him the 
victory ! — say this, Khalil, Ullah yunsur es-Sooltan." 

As we hearken to strange tales, so they would ask me of the 
far Nasarene country ; were we dhl tin, ' a people dwelling in clay 
(houses),' or else dhl byut shaar, * wandering Aarab dwelling in 
houses of hair'? When I answered, " We have no other nomad 
folk, than a few gipsies ; " — " it is plain (they said) that Khalil's 
Arabs are hdthir," or settled on the land : and they enquired 
which were our cattle. It was marvels to them, that in all our 
beled was not one camel. — " Lord ! upon what beasts do they 
carry ? " — " Ours is a land of horses, which are many there as your 
camels ; with a kind of labouring horses we plough the fallows : 
besides, we have the swiftest running horses of stature as your 
theluls." There lives not an Arab who does not believe, next 
to his creed, that the stock of horses is only of the Arabs, and 
namely, the five strains, educated in Arabia. ' And to which 
of these (they would know) reckoned we our horses ? ' It per- 
plexed and displeased them that our beled should be full of 
horses :: — ' had Ullah given horses also to the Nasara ! ' — " Listen ! 
(said Zeyd, who loved well to show his sharp wit, — the child's 
vanity not dead in the saturnine grown man.) and I can declare 
Khalil's words ; it is that we have seen also in es-Sham : Khalil's 
coursers be all kudsli, or pack-horses." When I answered, ' he 
was mistaken ; ' they cried me down ; " Khalil, in other things 
we grant you may know more than we, but of horses thou canst 
have no knowledge, for they are of the Aarab." The Fejir are 
reckoned a tribe of horsemen, yet all their mares were not a 
:Score : Beduins of tribes in which were very few horses I have 



THE ENGLISH ARE " UNCLES" OF THE SULTAN. 275 

found mistrustful of their own blunt judgment ; they supposed 
also I might tell them many subtle skills from a far country. 

They enquired of our ghrazzus, and what number of fighting 
men could we send to the field. Hearing from my mouth that 
many times all the Haj were but a small army of our great 
nations, they gasped for fear, thinking that el-Islam was lost ; 
and " wherefore, they asked quickly, being such multitudes, did 
we not foray upon them (as they would have overridden us) : — 
Ah God ! (they cried), help Thou the Moslemin ! " " Comfort 
yourselves, I answered, that we, being the stronger, make no 
unjust wars : ours is a religion of peace ; the weak may live 
in quietness for us." — " It is good that God has given you this 
mind, to the welfare of el-Islam, yet one Moslem (they confided) 
should be able to drive before him an hundred of the Nasara." 
I told them we had made the great war of Krim (the Crimea) 
for the Sultan and their sake ; in which were fallen the flower 
of our young men, and that women yet weep for them in our 
land." They enquired coldly, " Were your dead two or three 
hundred, or not so many ? " When I said their number might 
be 60,000, (and they believing I could not lie,) as men con- 
founded they cried, " Ah Lord God ! is not that more than all 
the men together in these parts ? " (there may not be so many 
grown males in the nomad tribes of upland Arabia !) " And 
have your people any great towns, Khalil ! " — " Great indeed, so 
that all the Beduw gathered out of your deserts might hardly 
more than fill some one great city." — " God (they exclaimed) is 
almighty ! but have we not heard of Khalil's people, is it not of 
them that is said el-Engreys akhudl es-Sultan (the English are 
uncles of the Sultan on the mother's side) ; the Sultans do well 
to ally in their friendly Christian blood," — which always they 
esteem above their own. They say in Arabia, " the Nasara never 
ail anything in their lives, nor suffer in their flesh, but only in the 
agony of dying ; their head aching, it is a sign to them that they 
are nigh their end ; the flesh of the Nasara is better than ours." 
Beduins have curiously observed me in their camps, waiting to 
see the truth of their opinion fulfilled, if at any time I sat wearily 
with the head in my hand ; some would then say, " Eigh ! what 
ails thee ? does thy head ache ? — it is likely that he will die, 
poor Khalil!" 

And our beled, " a land without palms," this was as a 
fable to them. — " There are no dates ! How then do your people 
live, or what sweetness taste they ? Yet Khalil may say sooth : 
companions, have we not found the like in the North ? Which 
of us saw any palms at Damascus ? Khalil's folk may have 
honey there, and sugar ; — the sweet and the fat comfort the 

18—2 



276 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

health of the ill dieted under these climates. We too have 
seen the north country ; all that grows out of the soil is there r 
and that oil of a tree which is better than samn." These hungry 
Beduins being in the Hauran, where they had corn enough, 
yet so longed in the autumn for the new date berries, that it 
drew them home to their empty desert, only " to eat of their 
own palms at Kheybar." The nomads think they cannot be in 
health, except they taste this seasonable sweetmeat ; although 
they reckon it not wholesome diet. 

The Beduw very often asked me " Beyond how many floods 
lies the land of the Nasara ? " They heard say we dwelt be- 
hind seven floods ; other said, " It is three, and if you will not 
believe this, ask Khalil." "Ullah bring thee home, Khalil! 
and being come again to thy house, if the Lord will, in peace, 
thou wilt have much to relate of the Aarab's land ? and wilt thou 
not receive some large reward ? for else, we think, thou wouldst 
never adventure to pass by this wilderness, wherein even we, 
the Bedtow, are all our lives in danger of robbers : thou art 
alone, and if thou wast made away, there is none would avenge 
thee. There is not, Khalil, a man of us all which sit here, that 
meeting thee abroad in the khala, had not slain thee. Thy camel 
bags, they say, are full of money, but, billah, were it only for the 
beast which is under thee ; and lucky were he that should 
possess them. The stranger is for the wolf ! you heard not this 
proverb in your own country ? " — " By God (one cries), I had 
killed Khalil!"— "And I" (said another).— "Wellah, I had way- 
laid him (says another) ; I think I see Khalil come riding, and 
I with my matchlock am lurking behind some crag or bush ; he 
had never seen it : — deh ! Khalil tumbles shot through the 
body and his camel and the gear had been all mine : and 
were it not lawful, what think ye ? to have killed him, 
a God's adversary ? This had been the end of Khalil." I 
said, " God give thee a punishment, and I might happen to 
prevent thee." — " Wellah (answered the rest), we had not spared 
him neither ; but beware thou, the Beduw are all robbers. 
Khalil ! the stronger eat the weaker in this miserable soil, 
where men only live by devouring one another. But we 
are Zeyd's Aarab, and have this carefulness of thee for Zeyd's 
sake, and for the bread and salt : so thou mayest trust us, and 
beside us, we warn thee, by Ullah, that thou trust not in any 
man. Thou wilt hardly receive instruction, more than one 
possessed by the jan ; and we dread for thee every morrow lest 
we should hear of thy death ; the people will say, ' Khalil was 
slain to-day,' — but we all wash our hands of it, by Ullah ! The 
Aarab are against thee, a Nasrany, and they say, 'He is spying 



THE LAND OF THE N AS ABA. 277 

the country : ' and only we are thy friends which know thee 
better. Khalil may trust to the Dowla, but this is a land under 
no rule, save only of the Lord above us. We but waste breath, 
companions ; and if God have blinded this man, let him alone ; 
he may die if he will, for who can persuade the foolhardy ? " 
When I told them that far from looking for any reward, I 
thought, were I come home, I might hardly purchase, at need, 
the livelihood of a day with all this extreme adventure, they 
answered, ' W T ere the Nasara inhospitable ? ' 

The Arab travels with his rafik, they wondered therefore how 
I came unaccompanied : " Khalil, where is thy companion, that 
each might help other ? " They wondered hearing that all ours 
was peaceable land, and that we carried no arms, in our own 
country. " Khalil, be there no Beduins at all, in the land of 
the Nasara?" I told them of the Lapland nomads in the 
<?old height of the north, their round hoop-tents of skins, and 
clothing of the same : some bid me name them, and held that 
4 they had heard such a name.' " What are their cattle in 
so cold a beled ? the winter snow lying the more months 
of the year, it were unfit for camels ! " — " You will not be- 
lieve me : their beasts are a kind of gazelles, big as asses, 
and upon their heads stand wide branching horns, with whose 
tines they dig in the snow to a wort, which is their daily 
pasture. Their winter's night, betwixt the sunsetting and the 
sunrising, is three months ; and midsummer is a long day- 
light, over their heads, of equal length. There I have seen the 
eye of the sun a spear's height above the face of the earth at 
midnight." Some thought it a fabulous tale that I told in scorn 
of them. " We believe him rather," said other. Nothing in 
this tale seemed so quaint to them, as that of those beasts' 
branching horns, which I showed them in the sand with my 
camel-stick ; for it is the nature of horns, as they see any, to be 
simple. They asked, "Should not such be of buffalo kind?" 
But of that strange coming and going of the sun, the herds- 
men's mirth rising, "How, laughed they, should those Aarab 
say their prayers ? would it be enough to say them there but 
once, in a three-months' winter night ! " 

" And are your settled countries so populous ? tell us, wellah, 
Khalil, have you many villages? an hundred?" — "Hundreds, 
friends, and thousands : look up ! I can think as many as these 
stars shining above us : " a word which drew from them long 
sighing eighs ! of apprehension and glucks ! upon their Beduish 
tongues, of admiration. Meteors are Seen to glance at every few 
moments in the luminous Arabian night. I asked, " What say 
the Aarab of these flitting stars ? " Answer : " They go to tumble 



278 TBAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

upon the heads of the heathen, Khalil ! fall there none 
upon the Nasara ? Ullah shortly confound all the kuffar ! " Zeyd 
said with a sober countenance.. " Your towns-folk know better 
than we, but ye be also uncunning in many things, which the 
Aarab ken. — Khalil now, I durst say, could not tell the names of 
the stars yonder," and pointing here and there, Zeyd said over 
a few names of greater stars and constellations, in what sort the 
author of Job in his old nomad-wise, " The Bear, Orion and the 
Pleiades." I asked, " How name you this glorious girdle of the 
heavens ? " — " El-Mujjir ; " and they smiled at our homely name, 
" The Milky Way." I told them, " This we see in our glasses to 
be a cloud of stars ; all our lore is not to call a few stars by their 
names. Our star-gazing men have numbered the stars, and set 
upon every one a certain name, and by " art-Indian," they may 
reckon from a hundred ages before our births, or after our 
deaths, all the courses of the host of heaven. — But those wander- 
ing stars stedfastly shining., are like to this earth, we may see 
seas and lands in them." Some of the younger sort asked then, 
" Were there Aarab in them ? — and the moon is what, Khalil?" 

There is a proverb which says, " Misfortunes never come 
single ; " my vaccination had failed, and now Abdn, my camel, 
failed me. Aban (to every beast of their cattle is a several 
name, as these are of camels : Areymish, Ghrallab, er-Rahifa, ed- 
Dbnnebil, Ddnna, el-Mas, Aitha, Atsha) was a strong young he- 
camel and rising in value ; but Zeyd had it in his double mind 
to persuade me otherwise, hoping in the end to usurp it himself. 
Upon a morrow the unhappy brute was led home, and then we saw 
the under-jaw bleeding miserably, it was hanging broken. It hap- 
pened that a great coffee company was assembled at Zeyd's, from 
the sunrise, and now they all rose to see this chance. The groan- 
ing camel was made to kneel ; some bound the limbs, and with 
strength of their arms careened and laid his great bulk upon the 
side ; and whoso were expert of these camel masters searched the 
hurt. Zeyd laid his searing irons in the embers ready for firing, 
which is seldom spared in any practice of their desert surgery. 
All hearkened to the opinion of a nomad smith, which kindred 
of men are as well the desert farriers and, skilled in handling 
tools, oftentimes their surgeons. This sany cured the broken jaw 
with splints, which he lapped about with rags daubed with rice 
cinder and red earth. The camel, said he, being fed by hand, 
might be whole in forty days. The like accident, I heard it said 
among them, had happened once in their memories to a tribes- 
man's camel, and the beast had been cured in this manner ; but I 
elt in my heart that it might never be. The wound was presently 



THE SUMMER DEPOSIT. 279 

full of flies, and the dressing, never unbound, bred worms in so 
great heat ; the dead bone blackened, and in few days fell away 
of itself. My watch also failed me, by which I made account 
of distances : from thenceforth I have used cross-reckonings of 
camel journeys. 

It was March ; already the summer entered with breathless 
heat, and in face of these contradictions of fortune, I thought 
to depart out of the desert country. I would return to el-Ally, 
and there await some rice-caravan returning to Wejh, from 
whence by any of the small Arab hoys, upon which they use to 
ship camels, I might sail for Egypt. But Zeyd and Motlog 
bade me have patience, until after the spring season ; when the 
tribe in their journeys should again approach the Hejr country, 
from which we were already very far divided. ' The forsaken 
deserts behind us being now infested by habalis, I should not 
find any willing, and they moreover would suffer none to accom- 
pany me.' The habalis, ' desert fiends,' are dreaded by the 
nomad tribesmen, as the Beduw themselves among settled 
country and oasis folk. Commonly the habalis are some young 
miscreants that, having hardly any head of cattle at home, will 
desperately cast themselves upon every cruel hazard : yet others 
are strenuous solitary men, whose unquiet mettle moves them 
from slothing in the tent's shadow to prowl as the wolf in the 
wilderness. These outlaws, enduring intolerable hardships, are 
often of an heathenish cruelty, it is pretended they willingly 
leave none alive. Nearly always footmen, they are more hardly 
perceived, lurking under crag or bush. 

The waste (sand-plain) landscape of these mountain solitudes 
is overgrown with rare pasture bushes. The desert bushes, 
heaped about the roots with sand, grow as out of little hillocks. 
The bushes dying, the heaps w T hich were under them remain 
almost everlastingly, and they are infinite up and down in all 
the wilderness : in some is the quantity of tw T o or three or 
more wagon loads. These nomads bury in them their super- 
fluous carriage of dates every year, as their camels come up 
overloaded with the summer gathering from Kheybar : that 
they may find their own again they observe well the landmarks. 
Some sheykhs will leave their winter beyt thus committed 
to the sand of the desert : in the hot months, with scarcity 
of pasture, and when the cattle are least patient of thirst, if 
they would not have them lean they must lessen their burdens. 
These nomad deposits lying months in the dry ground are 
not spoiled ; and there is none of their tribesmen that will ever 
disturb them : the householder shall be sure to find his own 
again where he buried it. The nomad tribes have all this manner 



2 8o TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

of the summer deposit ; some leave their cumber in the villages 
with their hosts, and such trust is (in nearly all men's hands) 
inviolable. The Moahib have a secret cave known to none 
living but themselves, in their desolate Harra ; there they lay 
up, as in a sanctuary, what they will, and a poor tribesman may 
leave his pound of samn. — Passing through a valley apart from 
the common resort in the solitudes of Sinai, I saw a new 
Beduin mantle, hanging on a thorn. My nomad camel-driver 
went to take it down, and turning it in his hand " Ay billah (said 
he), a good new cloak enough ! " and hanged it on the bough 
again : such goods of tribesmen are, as it were, committed 
to God. So we came to some of those Sinai stone cottages, 
which they call ' Nasarene houses ' (they would say, of the antique 
people of the land, before the Moslemin), in which they use to 
leave their heavy quern-stones ; and there are certain locked 
barns of the few traffickers bringing in corn from Gaza, among 
the Beduw. We entered one of them, and as I was looking at 
something of their gear, my companion, with altered looks, bade 
me put it up again ; as if even the handling were sacrilege. 
Sheykhs receiving surra of the haj road, have also their stores of 
heavy stuff and utensils in the kellas, as those of the Fejir 
at Medain ; and I heard they^ paid a fee to Haj Nejm, one 
real for every camel load. The sand upon all this high inland 
is not laid in any ripples (as that at the Bed Sea border, rippled, 
in this latitude, from the north) ; here are no strong or prevail- 
ing winds. 

As we went by to the mejlis, "Yonder (said Zeyd) I shall 
show thee some of a people of antiquity." This was a family 
which then arrived of poor wanderers, Solubba. I admired the 
full-faced shining flesh-beauty of their ragged children, and have 
always remarked the like as well of the Heteym nomads. 
These alien and outcast kindreds are of fairer looks than the 
hunger-bitten Beduw. The Heteym, rich in small cattle, have 
food enough in the desert, and the Solubba of their hunting and 
gipsy labour : for they are tinkers of kettles and menders of 
arms, in the Beduin menzils. They batter out upon the anvil 
hatchets, jedum, (with which shepherds lop down the sweet 
acacia boughs, to feed their flocks,) and grass-hooks for cutting 
forage, and steels for striking fire with the flint, and the like. 
They are besides woodworkers, in the desert acacia timber, 
of rude saddle-trees for the burden-camels, and of the thelul 
saddle-frames, of pulley reels, (mdhal) for drawing at any deeper 
wells of the desert, also of rude milk vessels, and other such 
husbandry : besides, thej are cattle surgeons, and in all their trade 



THE SOLUBBA. 281 

(only ruder of skill) like the smiths' caste or Sunna. The Solubba 
obey the precept of their patriarch,, who forbade them to be cattle- 
keepers, and bade them live of their hunting in the wilderness, and 
alight before the Beduin booths, that they might become their 
guests, and to labour as smiths in the tribes for their living. 
Having no milch beasts, whereso they ask it at a Beduin tent, the 
housewife will pour out leban from her semila, but it is in their 
own bowl, to the poor Solubba : for Beduins, otherwise little 
nice, will not willingly drink after Solubbies, that might have 
eaten of some futis, or the thing that is dead of itself. Also the 
Beduw say of them, "they eat of vile insects and worms:" the 
last is fable, they eat no such vermin. Bashly the evil tongue 
of the Beduw rates them as ' kuffar,' because only few Solubbies 
-can say the formal prayers, the Beduins are themselves not 
better esteemed in the towns. The Solubba show a good 
humble zeal for the country religion in which they were born, 
and have no notice of any other ; they are tolerant and, in their 
wretched manner, humane, as they themselves are despised and 
oppressed persons. 

In summer, when the Beduw have no more milk, loading 
their light tents and household stuff, with what they have 
gained, upon asses, which are their only cattle, they forsake 
the Aarab encampment, and hold on their journey through 
the wide khala. The Solubby household go then to settle 
themselves remotely, upon some good well of water, in an un- 
frequented wilderness, where there is game. They only (of all 
men) are free of the Arabian deserts to travel whithersoever 
they would ; paying to all men a petty tribute, they are mo- 
lested by none of them. Home-born, yet have they no citizen- 
ship in the Peninsula. No Beduwy, they say, will rob a 
Solubby, although he met him alone, in the deep of the wilder- 
ness, and with the skin of an ostrich in his hand, that is worth a 
thelul. But the wayfaring Beduwy would be well content to 
■espy, pitched upon some lone watering, the booth of a Solubby, 
and hope to eat there of his hunter's pot ; and the poor Solubby 
will make the man good cheer of his venison. They ride even 
hunting upon ass-back. It is also on these weak brutes, which 
must drink every second day, (but otherwise the ass is hardly less 
than the camel a beast of the desert,) that they journey with 
their families through great waterless regions, where the Beduwy 
upon his swift and puissant thelul, three days patient of thirst, 
may not lightly pass. This dispersed kindred of desert men in 
Arabia, outgo the herdsmen Beduw in all land-craft, as much as 
these go before the tardy oases villagers. The Solubba (in 
all else ignorant wretches,) have inherited a land-lore from sire 



282 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

to son, of the least finding -places of water. They wander upon 
the immense face of Arabia, from the height of Syria to el- 
Yemen, beyond et-Tdif, and I know not how much further I 
— and for things within their rat-like understanding, Arabians 
tell me, it were of them that a man may best enquire. 

They must be masters in hunting, that can nourish them- 
selves in a dead land ; and where other men may hardly see a 
footprint of venison, there oftentimes, the poor Solubbies are 
seething sweet flesh of gazelles and bedun, and, in certain sand 
districts, of the antelope ; everywhere they know their quarries' 
paths and flight. It is the Beduw who tell these wonders of 
them; they say, "the S'lubba are like herdsmen of the wild 
game, for when they see a troop they can break them and 
choose of them as it were a flock, and say, ' These will we have 
to-day, as for those other heads there, we can take them after to- 
morrow.' " — It is human to magnify, and find a pleasant wonder, 
this kind of large speaking is a magnanimity of the Arabs ; but 
out of doubt, the Solubba are admirable wayfarers and hardy 
men, keen, as living of their two hands, and the best sighted of 
them are very excellent hunters. The Solubba or SVeyb, besides 
this proper name of their nation, have some other which are 
epithets. West of Hayil they are more often called el-Khlua or 
Kheluiy, " the desolate," because they dwell apart from the 
Kabdil, having no cattle nor fellowship ; — a word which the 
Beduw say of themselves, when in a journey, finding no menzil 
of the Aarab, they must lie down to sleep " solitaries " in the 
empty khala. They are called as well in the despiteful tongue 
of this country, Kilab el-Khala, ' hounds of the wilderness.' 
El-Ghrunemy is the name of another kindred of the Sleyb in 
East Nejd ; and it is said, they marry not with the former. The 
Arabians commonly suppose them all to be come of some old 
kafir kind, or Nasara. 

— Neither are the Sherarat and Heteym nomads (which are 
of one blood) reckoned to the Beduin tribes. The dispersed 
kindreds of Sunna are other home-born aliens living amongst 
the Aarab, and there is no marrying between any of them. Md 
li-hum asl, say the Beduw, " They are not of lineage," which can 
be understood to signify that ' not descended of Kahtan, neither 
of the stock of Ishmael, they are not of the Arabs.' And if any 
Arabians be asked, What then are they ? they answer : " Wellah, 
we cannot tell, but they come of evil kin, be it Yahud or Nasara " 
(this is, of the Ancients which were in the land before Moham- 
med, and of whom they have hardly any confused tradition). As 
often as I met with any Solubba I have asked of their lineage :. 
but they commonly said again, wondering, " What is this to en- 



ALIEN KINDREDS IN ARABIA. 283 

quire of us mesquins dwelling in these deserts ? we have no 
books nor memory of things past ; but read thou, and if any- 
thing of this be written, tell us." Some said the name of their 
ancestor is M'aibi; the Beduw also tell of them, that which is 
read in Arabic authors, how they were the Aarab Jessas, once 
Beduins : being destroyed in their controversy with the Aarab 
K'leyb and bereaved of all their cattle, they for their liveli- 
hood took up this trade of the hammer, and became Solubba. 
Later in the summer I found some Solubba families pitched 
under the kella at el-Hejr, who were come over the Harra and 
the Tehama from Wejh, their own station. At that season 
they make a circuit ; last year they had wandered very far 
to the south, and I saw their women grinding a minute wheaten 
grain, which they had brought from a wady near Mecca ! 
They (as coast and Hejaz dwellers) were of more civil under- 
standing than the uplandish Solubba. To my questions the 
best of them answered, " We are Aarab K'fa, of old time posses- 
sors of camels and flocks, as the Beduw : those were our villages, 
now ruins, in the mountains southward of el-Ally, as Skeirdt 
in Wady Sodr ; but at last our people became too weak to main- 
tain themselves in an open country, and for their more quiet- 
ness, they fell to this trade of the Solubba." Said one of them,, 
11 We are all Beny Murra, and fellowship of Sdlim Ibn ez-Zir, 
from the hill Jemla, a day on the east side of Medina ; we 
are called Motullij and Derruby" Haj Nejm laughed as I came 
again, at " this strange fantasy of Khalil, always to be enquiring 
somewhat, even of such poor folk. Khalil ! these are the Beny 
Morr, they are dogs, and what is there besides to say of them ? " 
When Beduins asked me if I could not tell them by book- 
craft what were the Solubba, it displeased them when I an- 
swered, " A remnant, I suppose, of some ancient Aarab ; " they 
would not grant that Solubbies might be of the right Arabian 
kindred. All who are born in the Arabs' tongue are curious 
etymologers ; a negro, hearing our discourse, exclaimed, " Well, 
this is likely that Khalil says ; is not Solubba to say Sulb el- 
Arab, the Arab's stock ? " The poor soul (who had spoken a 
little in malice, out of his black skin, for which he was dispraised 
amongst the white Arabs) was cried down by the other etymo- 
logers, which were all the rest of the company, and with great 
reason, for they would not have it so. " The Solubba are rich 
(say the Arabs), for they take our money, and little or nothing 
comes forth again ; they need spend for no victuals. They have 
corn and dates enough, besides samn and mereesy, for their 
smith's labour." The Solubby has need of a little silver in his 
metal craft, to buy him solder and iron ; the rest, increased to a 



284 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

bundle of money, he will, they say, bury in the desert sooner 
than carry it along with him, and return perhaps after years to 
take it up again, having occasion it may be to buy him an ass. 
Yet there are said to be certain Solubba, keepers of a few 
cattle, towards Mesopotamia ; living under their own sheukh, 
and riders upon dromedaries. I have seen a sheykhly northern 
man, honourably clad, at Hayil, who was a Solubby ; he invited 
me (I think at the great Emir's bidding) to ride with him in the 
next mountains, seeking for metals. I asked, "Upon what beast?" 
He said I should ride upon an ass, "we have no other." I would 
gladly have ridden out of Hayil into the free air ; but I thought 
a man's life was not to trust with abjects, men not of the 
Beduin tradition in faithful fellowship. Even the Solubba 
hold to circuits, and lodge by their tribes and oases. There 
are Solubby families which have their home station, at some 
settlement, as Teyma ; but the most remain in the desert. — The 
Sunna are some settled in the villages, and some are wander- 
ing men with the tribes, leading their lives as nomads, and 
possessors of cattle. The Solubba outcast from the common- 
wealth of mankind, and in disgrace of the world, their looks are 
of destitute humility. Their ragged hareem, in what encamp- 
ment they alight, will beg somewhat, with a lamentable voice, 
from beyt to beyt, of the poor tolerant Beduw : yet other (as 
those from Wejh) are too well clad, and well-faring honest 
persons, that their wives should go a-mumming. I have seen 
young men, which were Sleyb, in the Syrian wilderness, clad in 
coats of gazelle-skins. The small Solubby booth is mostly very 
well stored, and they have daily meat to put under their teeth, 
which have not the most poor Beduins. 

Wandering and encamping, we had approached Teyma ; and 
now being hardly a journey distant, some of our people would go 
a-marketing thither, and Zeyd with them, to buy provisions : I 
should ride also in the company with Zeyd. We set out upon the 
morrow, a ragged fellowship, mostly Fehjat, of thirty men and 
their camels. We passed soon from the sandy highlands to a most 
sterile waste of rising grounds and hollows, a rocky floor, and 
shingle of ironstone. This is that extreme barrenness of the 
desert which lies about Teyma, without blade or bush. We passed 
a deep ground, M'hai, and rode there by obscure signs of some 
ancient settlement, Jefeyda, where are seen a few old circles of 
flag-stones, pitched edgewise, of eight or nine yards over, seeming 
such as might have fenced winter tents of the antique Aarab, 
sheltered in this hollow. In the Moallakat, or elect poems of 
ancient Arabia, is some mention of round tents, but the 






TEYMA. 285 

booths of all the Arab nomads are now foursquare only. The 
company hailed me, " See here ! Khalil, a village of the Auellin,. 
those of old time." — "And what ancients were these?" — " Some 
say the Sherarat, others the Beny Kelab or Chelb, and theirs, 
billah, was the Borj Selman and the ground Umsheyrifa. , ' > Zeyd 
added : " This was of the AM Theyma (not Teyma), and sheykh 
of them Aly es-Sweysy the Yahudy." Come upon the highest 
ground beyond, Zeyd showed me the mountain landmarks, 
westward Muntar B. Atieh, next Twoyel Saida, Helaima before 
us, in front el-Ghreneym, which is behind the oasis. Some 
murmured, "Why did Zeyd show him our landmarks?" — "I 
would have Khalil, said he, become a Beduwy." 

Delightful now was the green sight of Teyma, the haven of 
our desert ; we approached the tall island of palms, enclosed 
by long clay orchard- walls, fortified with high towers. Teyma 
is a shallow, loamy, and very fertile old flood-bottom in these 
high open plains, which lie out from the west of Nejd. Those 
lighthouse-like turrets, very well built of sun-dried brick, are from 
the insecure times before the government of Ibn Kashid, when, 
as the most Arabian places, Teyma was troubled by the sheykhs' 
factions, and the town quarters divided by their hereditary 
enmities. Every well-faring person, when he had fortified his 
palms with a high clay-brick wall, built his tower upon it ; 
also in every suk of the town was a clay turret of defence and 
refuge for the people of that street. In a private danger one 
withdrew with his family to their walled plantation : in that 
enclosure, they might labour and eat the fruits, although his 
old foes held him beleaguered for a year or two. Any enemy 
approaching by day-light was seen from the watch-tower. Such 
walling may be thought a weak defence ; but for all the fox-like 
subtlety of Semitic minds, they are of nearly no invention. A 
powder blast, the running brunt of a palm beam, had broken up 
this clay resistance ; but a child might sooner find, and madmen 
as soon unite to attempt anything untried. In the Gospel para- 
bles, when one had planted a vineyard, he built a tower therein 
to keep it. The watch-tower in the orchard is yet seen upon all 
desert borders. We entered between grey orchard walls, overlaid 
with blossoming boughs of plum trees ; of how much amorous con- 
tentment to our parched eyes ! I read the oasis height 3400 ft. 
We dismounted at the head of the first suk before the dar, house 
or court of a young man our acquaintance, Sleyman, who in the 
Haj time had been one of the kella guests at Medain. Here he 
lived with his brother, who was Zeyd's date merchant ; we were 
received therefore in friendly wise, and entertained. The hareem 
led in Hirfa, who had ridden along with us, to their apartment. 



286 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

As the coffee pestle (which with the mortars, are here of 
limestone marble, surma's work, from Jauf,) begins to ring out at 
the coming of guests ; neighbours enter gravely from the suk, and 
to every one our sheykh Zeyd arose, large of his friendly greet- 
ing, and with the old courtesy took their hands and embraced 
them. 

Teyma is a Nejd colony of Shammar, their fathers came to 
settle here, by their saying, not above two hundred years past : 
from which time remain the few lofty palms that are seen grown 
to fifteen fathoms, by the great well-pit, Haddaj ; and only few 
there are, negroes, who durst climb to gather the fruits of them. 
All their palm kinds have been brought from Jebel Shammar, 
except the helw, which was fetched from el-Ally. Theirs is 
even now, in another dira, the speech of Shammar. Here first 
we see the slender Nejd figures, elated, bold tongued, of ready 
specious hospitality, and to the stranger, arriving from the 
Hejaz, they nearly resemble the Beduins. They go bare-footed, 
and bravely clad of the Hayil merchandise from el-Irdk, and 
inhabit clay-built spacious houses, mostly with an upper floor ; 
the windows are open casements for the light and air, their 
flooring the beaten earth, the rude door is of palm boards, as in 
all the oases. This open Shammar town was never wasted by 
plagues, the burr or high desert of uncorrupt air lies all round 
about them from the walls : only Beduins from the dry desert 
complain here of the night (the evaporation from irrigated soil), 
which gives them cold in the head, zikma. Here are no house- 
ruins, broken walls and abandoned acres, that are seen in the 
most Arabian places. Prosperous is this outlying settlement 
from Nejd, above any which I have seen in my Arabian travels. 
If anyone here discover an antique well, without the walls, it 
is his own ; and he encloses so much of the waste soil about as 
may suffice to the watering ; after a ploughing his new acre is 
lit for sowing and planting of palms, and fifteen years later every 
stem will be worth a camel. Teyma, till then a free township, 
surrendered without resistance to the government of Ibn Kashid. 
They are skilful husbandmen to use that they have, without 
any ingenuity : their wells are only the wells of the ancients, 
which finding again, they have digged them out for themselves : 
barren of all invention, they sink none, and think themselves 
unable to bore a last fathom in the Soft sand-rock which lies 
at the bottom of the seven-fathom wells. Moslemin, they say, 
cannot make such wells, but only Nasara should be good to 
like work and Yahudies. Arabian well-sinkers in stone there 
are none nearer than Kasim, and these supine Arabs will call 
in no foreign workmen. They trust in God for their living, 



OLD MOSAIC TEYMA. 



287 



which, say the hearts of these penny-wise men, is better than 
to put their silver in adventure. 

There was none here who asked alms in the street ; indeed 
it is not common to see any destitute persons in West Nejd. I 
knew in Teyma but one such poor man, helpless with no great age. 
In what house he entered at supper time, he might sit down with 
the rest to eat and welcome, but they grudged that he should 
carry any morsel away. There were in the town one or two 
destitute Beduins, who entered to sup and " to coffee " in which 
households they would, no man forbidding them. At night they 
lay down in their cloaks, in what coffee hall they were ; or 
went out to sleep, in the freshing air, upon some of the street 
•clay benches. 



.Sh.efJ' 



iri „U Said 



Af em 



|af at (Salt Grounds) 



d s 

\C2 



l-Ghrerb ?2- 

Kasr Zerfum ... ©1 />«>•£ 




Errbah." 



Sherg- 



l^f*"'«/ stone buildings 




Old Teyma of the Jews, according to their tradition, had 
"been (twice) destroyed by a flood. From those times there re- 
main some great rude stone buildings ; the work is dry-laid 
with balks and transoms of the same iron-stone. Besides, there 
is a great circuit (I suppose almost three miles) of stone wall- 
ing, which enclosed the ancient city. This sur lies somewhat 
above the oasis. The prince of old Mosaic 'Teyma is named 
in their tradition Bedcr Ibn Joker. Nomad masters of new 
Teyma were at first B. Sokhr, unto whom even now they 
yield a yearly khuwa ; and else they should not be delivered from 
their distant foraying. Fever is unknown at Teyma. Their 
water, and such I have found all Arabian ground water, is flat, 
lukewarm and unwholesome. Of this they think it is that 
amongst them almost no man is seen of robust growth ; but 
they are the lean shot-up figures of Nejd, with the great 
startling eyes, long oval shallow faces, and hanging jaws : you 



288 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

might think them Beduins. The women are goodly, more than 
the men, loose-fleshed large village faces, but without ruddiness, 
they have dissonant voices : as the neighbour tribeswomen of 
the B. Wahab, they go unveiled. I saw in the town no aged 
persons. Of the two hundred houses here, are three sheykhs* 
suks or parishes and fifteen hands or smaller wards ; in every one 
there is some little mesjid or public oratory (often but a pent- 
house) of poor clay walling without ornaments, the flooring is 
of gravel. Such are as well places of repose, where the stranger 
may go in to sleep under a still shadow, at the gate of heaven. 
But the great mosque, whither all the males resort for the 
Friday mid-day prayers, preaching, and koran reading, stands a 
little without the suks to the eastward. It is perhaps the site 
of some ancient temple, for I found certain great rude pillars 
lying about it. At el- Ally, (a Hejaz oasis, and never entered 
by the Wahaby,) I saw the mosques nearly such as are those 
in the Syrian villages. 

We were led round to drink in the coffee halls of other house- 
holders, with whom Zeyd dealt, for some part of his victual of 
grain and dates. As they have little fuel of that barren land 
about them, and out of their plantations no more than for the 
daily cooking, — the palm timber is besides " as vinegar to the 
teeth and smoke to the eyes" in burning — they use here the 
easy and cleanly Nejd manner of a charcoal coffee-fire, which is 
blown in a clay hearth with a pair of smith's bellows : this coal is 
brought by men who go out to make it, in the further desert. 
The smiling oasis host spares not, sitting at his coals, to blow 
and sweat like a Solubby for his visiting guests : and if thou his 
acquaintance be the guest of another, " Why, he will ask thee 
with a smooth rebuke, didst thou not alight at my dar ? " 
Coffee is thus made, with all diligence, twice or thrice over in 
an hour : prepared of a dozen beans for as many persons, their 
coffee drink is very small at Teyma. The coffee-hall, built 
Nejd-wise, is the better part of every house building. The 
lofty proportion of their clay house-walls is of a noble simplicity, 
and ceiled with ethl or long tamarisk beams, which is grown in 
all the oases for timber. The close mat of palm stalks laid upon 
the rafters, is seen pleasantly stained and shining with the 
Arabs' daily hospitable smoke, thereabove is a span deep of 
rammed earth. The light of the room is from the entry, and in 
many halls, as well, by open casements, and certain holes made 
high upon the walls. The sitting-place (mukaad) of the earthen 
floor and about the sunken hearth, is spread with palm mat 
or nomad tent cloth. Upon the walls in some sheykhs' houses 
is seen a range of tenter-pegs, where guesting sheykhs of 



IBN BASH ID'S MAN. 289 

the Aarab may lay up their romhh or long horseman's lance. 
In these dars you shall hear no minstrelsy, the grave viol sounds 
in Wahaby ears are of an irreligious levity, and the Teyamena 
had received a solemn rescript from Ibn Rashid, forbidding 
them to sound the rabeyby ! Khdlaf, the emir, a liberal-minded 
person, told it to some Beduins in my hearing, not without a 
gesture of his private repugnance. 

We met Motlog's brother in the streets ; he was come into 
Teyma before us. I marked how preciously the nomad man 
went, looking upon the ground, I thought him dazing in the 
stagnant air of the oases, and half melancholy : Rahyel might be 
called in English the complete gentleman of his tribe ; a pensive^ 
and a merry errand he had now upon hand. The sheykh was 
come in to wed a town wife : for as some villager, trafficking to the 
nomads, will have his Beduwia always abiding him in the desert, 
so it is the sick fantasy of many a Beduwy to be a wedded man 
in the market settlement, that when he is there he may go home 
to his wife, though he should not meet with her again in a round ) 
year. At evening we heard loud hand-clapping, the women's 
merrymaking for this bridal, in one of the next houses. This is a 
general and ancient Semitic wise of striking sounds in measure, 
to accompany the lively motions of their minds ; in the Hebrew 
Scriptures it is said, ' The floods and the trees of the field clap 
their hands.' The friends of the spouse fired off their match- 
locks. This pairing was under a cloud, for there happened 
at the moment a strange accident ; it was very unlucky I came 
not provided with an almanac. Seeing the moon wane, the 
housewives made great clangour of pans to help the labouring 
planet, whose bright hue at length was quite lost. I began 
to expound the canonical nature of eclipses, which could be 
calculated for all times past and to come. The coffee drinkers 
answered soberly, " It may well be true, but the Arabs are 
ignorant and rude ! We cannot approach to so high and per- 
fect kinds of learning." 

Upon the morrow, whilst we sat at coffee, there enters one, 
walking stately, upon his long tipstaff, and ruffling in glorious 
garments : this was the Kesident for Ibn Kashid at Teyma. 
The emir's gentleman, who seemed to have swallowed a stake, 
passed forth, looking upon no man, till he sat down in his 
solemnity ; and then hardly vouchsafed he to answer the 
coffee-drinkers' cheerful morning greetings. This is the great 
carriage of Hayil, imitated from the Arabian prince Ibn 
Rashid, who carries his coxcomb like an eagle to overawe the 
unruly Beduw. The man was Said, a personage of African 
d. t. 19 



290 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA 

blood, one of the libertines of the emir's household. He sat 
before us with that countenance and stiff neck, which by his 
estimation should magnify his office : he was lieutenant of the 
lord of the land's dignity in these parts. Spoke there any man 
to him, with the homely Arabian grace ya Said ! he affecting 
not to look again, seemed to stare in the air, casting eyes over 
your head and making merchants' ears, bye and bye to awaken, 
with displeasure, after a mighty pause : when he questioned any 
himself he turned the back, and coldly averting his head he 
feigned not to attend your answer. Said was but the ruler's 
shadow in office for this good outlying village : his was the pro- 
curation and espial of his master's high affairs ; but the town 
government is, by the politic princely house of Shammar, left in 
the hands of the natural sheykhs. Said dwelt in a great Teyma 
house, next by the Haddaj : miserably he lived alone to himself 
and unwived ; at evening he sparred the door, and as he went 
not forth to his master's subjects, so he let in no coffee-fellowship. 
The Prince's slave gentleman has a large allowance, so much 
by the month, taken upon the tribute of the town : unlettered 
himself, a son was here his clerk. Now he thought good to 
see that Nasrany come to town, who was dwelling he heard, 
since the Haj, amongst the Beduw of Ibn Rashid. Said, with 
a distant look, now enquired of the company " Where is he ? " 
as if his two eyes had not met with mine already. After 
he had asked such questions as " When came he hither ? — 
He is with thee, Zeyd ? " he kept awful silence a set space ; 
then he uttered a few words towards me and looked upon 
the ground. " The Engleys, have they slaves in their country ? " 
I answered, " We purge the world of this cursed traffic, our ships 
overrun the slave vessels in all seas ; what blacks we find in 
them we set free, sending them home, or we give them land and 
palms in a country of ours. As for the slave shippers, we set 
them upon the next land and let them learn to walk home ; we 
sink their prize-craft, or burn them. We have also a treaty with 
the Sultan : God made not a man to be sold like an head 
of cattle. This is well, what thinkest thou ? " The gross 
negro lineaments of Said, in which yet appeared some token 
of gentle Arabic blood, relented into a peaceable smiling, and 
then he answered pleasantly, "It is very well." Now Said had 
opened his mouth, his tongue began to wag : he told us he 
had gone once (very likely with Nejd horses) as far as Egypt, 
and there he had seen these Frenjies. So rising with lofty 
state, and taking again his court, countenance, he bade Zeyd 
bring me presently, and come himself to his dar, to diink 
coffee? 



TEYMA INSCRIPTIONS. 



291 



When we arrived thither, Said had doffed this mockery of 
lordship, and sat but homely in old clothes in his own house. 
He led me to the highest place ; and there wanting leaning 
pillows, he drew under my elbow his shidad, or thelul saddle, 
as is the usage in the nomad booths. These Beduin man- 
ners are seen in the oases' coffee-halls, where (the Semites 
inventing nothing of themselves) they have almost no other 
moveables. — And seeing them in their clay halls in town and 
village one might say, " every Arab is a wayfaring man, and 
ready for the journey." Said brought paper and ink, and 
a loose volume or two, which were all his books ; he would 
see me write. So I wrote his name and quality, Said Zelamat 
Ibn Rashid; and the great man, smiling, knew the letters 
which should be the signs of his own name. So when we had 
drunk coffee, he led me out beyond his yard to a great building, 
in stone, of ancient Teyma, hoping I might interpret for him 
an antique inscription ; which he showed me in the jamb of the 
doorway, made (and the beams likewise, such as we have seen in 



\y/-"nnHL+- 




the basaltic Hauran) of great balks of sandstone. These strange 
characters, like nothing I had seen before, were in the midst 
obliterated by a later cross-mark. Said's thought was that this 
might be the token of an hid treasure ; and he told us " one 
such had been raised at Feyd," — a village betwixt Shammar 
and Kasim. — Is not this a mad opinion ? that the ancients, 
burying treasure, should have set up a guidestone and written 
upon it ! Keturning, I found in the street wall near his door, 
an inscription stone with four lines sharply engraved of the 
same strange antique Tevma writing. 

19—2 



292 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

Zeyd went out to buy his provision, and no one molesting 
me, I walked on through the place and stayed to consider their 
great well-pit, El-Haddaj ; a work of the ancients which is in 
the midst of the new Teyma. That pit is unequally four-sided, 
some fifty feet over, and to the water are seven fathoms. The 
Haddaj is as a great heart of Teyma, her many waters, led out- 
ward to all sides in little channels, making green the whole 
oasis ; other well-pits there are only in the outlying ham- 
lets. The shrill draw-wheel frames, sudny, are sixty, set up 
all round, commonly by twos and threes mounted together ; 
they are seldom seen all in working, at once. The well-camels 
walking downwards from the four sides of the pit, draw by 
their weight each one a vast horn-shaped camel-leather 
bucket, dullu: the lower neck is an open mouth, which, rising 
in the well, is sustained by a string, but come to the 
brink, and passing over a roller the dullu belly is drawn 
highest, whilst the string is slackened, and the neck falling 
forward, pours forth a roaring cataract of water. Afterward, 
I saw the like in India. The shrieking suany and noise of 
tumbling water is, as it were, the lamentable voice of a rainless 
land in all Nejd villages. Day and night this labour of the 
water may not be intermitted. The strength of oxen cannot 
profitably draw wells of above three or four fathoms and, if 
God had not made the camel, Nejd, they say, had been without 
inhabitant. Their Haddaj is so called, they told me, " for the 
plenty of waters," which bluish-reeking are seen in the pit's 
depth, welling strongly from the sand-rock : this vein they 
imagine to come from the Harra. 

Returned to the coffee-hall I found only Sleyman ; we sat 
down and there timidly entered the wives and sisters of his 
household. The open-faced Teyma hareem are frank and 
smiling with strangers, as I have not seen elsewhere in Arabia : 
yet sometimes they seem bold-tongued, of too free manners, 
without grace. The simple blue smock of calico dipped in 
indigo, the woman's garment in all the Arab countries, they 
wear here with a large-made and flowing grace of their own ; 
the sleeves are embroidered with needlework of red worsted, 
and lozenges sewed upon them of red cotton. The most have 
bracelets, hadyd, of beautiful great beads of unwrought amber, 
brought, as they tell me, anciently from Hayil. The fairer of 
them have pleasant looks, yet dull as it were and bovine for the 
blindness of the soul ; their skin, as among the nomads, is early 
withered ; spring-time and summer are short between the slender 
novice and the homely woman of middle age. Tamar's garment 
of patches and party-colours was perchance of such sort as now 



8LEYMAN. 293 

these Arabian women's worked gown. His old loving father 
made for little Joseph a motley coat ; and it may seem more 
than likely, that the patriarch seamed it with his own hands. 
Amongst the nomads men are hardly less ready-handed to cut, and 
to stitch too, their tunics, than the hareem. Sleyman ; " See Khalil, 
I have this little sister here, a pretty one, and she shall be 
thine, if thou wouldest be a wedded man, so thou wilt number 
me the bride-money in my hand ; but well I warn thee it is not 
small." The bevy of hareem, standing to gaze upon a stranger, 
now asked me, " Wherefore art thou come to Teyma ? " — 
" It were enough if only to see you my sisters." But when their 
tongues were loosed, and they spoke on with a kine-like stolidity, 
Sleyman cried full of impatience, "Are your hareem, Khalil, 
such dull cattle? Why dost thou trouble thyself to answer 
them ? Hence, women, ye stay too long, away with you ! " and 
they obeyed the beardless lad with a feminine submission ; for 
every Arab son and brother is a ruler over all woman-kind in 
the paternal household. This fresh and ruddy young man, more 
than any in the town, but not well minded, I found no more at 
my coming again : he lay some months already in an untimely 
grave ! " Where (I asked) is Sleyman ? " — " Rdhh (they answered 
in his house), he is gone, the Lord have mercy upon him." — " Oh, 
how did he die ? " — " Ah, Khalil, of a wajja " (a disease), and more 
than this I might not learn from them. His brother called me 
to eat of a sheep, the sacrifice for the dead, in which we remem- 
bered Sleyman. " Khalil, said the elder brother's wife (the 
fairest among women of the Teyamena) rememberest thou 
Sleyman ? ah, he died a little after your being here, mesquin ! 
Ullah have mercy upon him ! " When I responded, " Have 
mercy upon him, Ullah ! " they looked upon me a little wonder- 
ing, to hear this friendly piety out of the mouth of a kafir : they 
abhorring us as miscreants, suppose that we should desire of 
God to damn them in their deaths also. 

The oasis ways lie between orchard walls ; but where I entered, 
I saw their palm grounds very well husbanded. A pond fed by 
the irrigating channels from the Haddaj is maintained in the 
midst of every plantation, that ground moisture may be con- 
tinually about the roots of the palm-stems (almost to be reckoned 
w r ater plants). Their corn plots are ploughed, in the fall of the 
year, with the well-camels, and mucked from the camel-yards ; a 
top-dressing is carried upon the land from loam pits digged in the 
field's sides. There is not so good tillage in the Syrian villages. 
Naturally this land is fat, and bears every year corn, now one now 
another kind of grain ; but they sow only for one harvest in the 
year, since all their irrigation afterward is no more than enough 



294 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

for the palm plantations. Wheat and barley harvest is here in 
the first week of April ; they grow also, as in all the Arabian 
country, the tall flag-like millet thiira, and a minute Nejd grain, 
which is called duksa. Besides their bread plants, they grow 
enough of the "indecent" leaf of tobacco. It is a wonder that 
the Shammar prince has not forbidden them ! In this we may 
see that Nejd-like Teyma is not Nejd. Fruit-trees, not to usurp 
the room of the food-palm, they plant beside their irrigating 
channels ; the plum, the pomegranate, the fig, the great citron, 
the sweet and sour lemons : the vine is seen at most of their 
wells, a great trellis plant, overspreading the long enclosed walk 
of the draft camels with delicious shadows. The Teyamena will 
liberally bring of their pleasant fruit in this thirsty land to any 
passing stranger, but they will sell them none ; yet grapes are 
» sold in the Nejd village-country of Kasim. They might plant 
here all the tree-kinds of the paradise of Damascus ; but to 
what advantage ? — for their own using '? The poor should not 
tempt Ullah with delicate eating : such as they have may well 
suffice, the rest they desire not, and rather can despise them 
with religious indolence. The many kinds of Teyma dates are 
of very excellent quality and savour. The stems very tall and 
robust, and great fruit bearers. But all their dates are harr, or 
heating ; they should be eaten with mereesy or with the nomads' 
sour butter-milk, which are cooling drinks. The Teyamena 
hold all dates, (although the most of their diet,) in a kind 
of loathing. Twenty small Teyma pottles, sah (pi. suah), were 
given this year for a real, almost as much as by the Beduins' 
estimation may serve a man, with a little milk, for the days of a 
moon. Of their small-grained Arabian wheat, yet sweet and 
good, only six such standard measures were sold for the same. 
These villagers raise corn enough to sell to the nomad neigh- 
bours. Of other cattle than camels, they have but a few head 
of small humped kine from el- Ally ; they have plenty of poultry ; 
dogs are not seen here, house-cats I have not seen in Nejd. 

Here is little current money, most of their buying and selling 
is reckoned in sahs, and great bargains in camel-loads, of the 
date staple. Barter is much of all Arabian traffic. Silver 
comes to them from the desert, in the hands of the nomads, 
who have it by the sale of some of their camels to the brokers ; 
but it is mainly, in the haj-road country, of the surra, paid to 
their sheykhs in good Turkish mejidies. This yearly receipt 
of silver, is nearly all taken up again from the village dealers 
for the government tax, which for Teyma is four thousand 
reals by the year, gathered after the date harvest ; certain of 
the sheykhs then ride with it to Hayil, and bring this tribute 



KASR ZELLUM. 295 

into the treasury of the emir. There are a few strangers here, 
tradesmen, from J. Shammar : they sell Bagdad clothing, and 
the light and cheaper gulf calico, saleyta, in hired chambers 
and houses. These Hayil citizens went about in Teyma with a 
lofty gait of the Nejd metropolis. A half -stranger or two 
sold Syrian clothing wares, and they were Damascenes by the 
father's side. Such was one Mahmud, come a child to Teyma 
with his Medanite father, in the year of the massacre of the 
Nasara. In this young man was now the aspect of the Nejders. 
The second was son of an old kella keeper. No shops are seen 
in the suks, the land-owners are sellers of their corn and dates at 
their own houses. 

Sultry seemed this stagnant air to us, come in from the 
high desert, we could not sleep in their clay houses. My thirst 
was inextinguishable ; and finding here the first clean water, 
after weeks of drought, I went on drinking till some said, " Khalil 
is come to Teyma only to drink water : will he drink up the 
Haddaj ? " When Zeyd returned not yet, I went out to visit 
some great ancient ruin, Kasr Zellum, named after a former 
possessor of the ground. A sturdy young half-blooded negro 
guided me, but whose ferocious looks by the way, brain-sick and 
often villanous behaviour, made me pensive : he was strong as a 
camel, and had brought a sword with him, I was infirm and 
came (for the heat) unarmed. We passed the outer walls, and 
when I found the place lay further in the desert, and by the 
eyes and unsettling looks of this ribald I might divine that his 
thought was in that solitary way to kill me, I made some delay ; 
T saw a poor man in a field, and said, I would go over to him, 
and drink a little water. It was a nomad, building up an 
orchard clay wall for the villager's hire, paid in pottles of dates. 
In this, there came to us from the town, a young man of a 
principal sheykhly family, er-Roman, and another with him. 
They had been sent after me in haste by Zeyd, as he had news 
in what company I was gone : — and in a later dissension Zeyd 
said, " I saved thy life, Khalil ! rememberest thou not that day 
at Teyma, when the black fellow went out to murder thee ? " I 
knew these young smilers, so not much trusting them, we 
walked on together. I must run this risk to-day, I might no 
more perhaps come to Teyma ; but all that I found for a weapon, 
a pen-knife, I held ready open under my mantle, that I might 
not perish like a slaughter-beast, if these should treacherously 
set upon me. 

Kasr Zellum I found to be a great four-square fort-like 
building ; it may be fifty or sixty paces upon a side. The walls 
are five feet thick, in height fifteen feet, laid of dry masonry. 



296 



TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 



A part within is divided into 
midst they think a great well 




Hi 1 ^> 

i i l nwp'ri 



chambers, the rest is yard, in the 
lies buried. The site of the kasr 
is a little below those great 
town walls of ancient Teyma, 
which are seen as sand-banks, 
riding upon the plain ; the head 
of the masonry only appearing. 
In the midst of the kasr wall, I 
found another inscription stone, 
laid sideways, in that strange 
Teyma character ; and above the 
writing, are portrayed human 
eyes. — We read that the augurs 
of the antique Arabs scored two 
lines as eyes, the wise men 
naming them their " children of 
vision." At the rendering of 
Teyma to Abeyd Ibn Rashid, he 
left this injunction with the 
Teyamena, " Ye are not to build 
upon the walls of that kasr ! " 

All this oasis — shallow jauf 
or flood -bottom in the high 
desert, and without outlet — has 
been in other time of the world 
(it is likely) a winter meer : seven 
torrent channels (not all sensible 
to our eyes) flow therein. I write the names only for example of 
their diligent observation : el~Hosenieh, Khoweylid, Heddajor, 
Seyfieh, el-Toleyhat, er-Rotham and Zellum. Striped bluish clays 
and yellow-brown loam may be seen in their marl pits. In the 
grounds below the last cultivated soil, are salt beds, the famous 
memlahdt Teyma. Thither resort the poorer Beduins, to dig it 
freely : and this is much, they say, " sweeter " to their taste than 
the sea-salt from Wejh. Teyma rock-salt is the daily sauce of 
the thousand nomad kettles in all these parts of Arabia. Poor 
Fukara carry it to el- Ally, and receive there four reals for their 
camel-load. The most lower grounds in these deserts are saltish, 
of the washing down from the land above ; after the winter stand- 
ing-water may be found a salty crust, — such I have seen finger- 
thick, taken from near the mountain Misma, for the provision of 
Hayil. At Gerish, a jau or low-ground watering and mountain, 
half a day's riding in the north from Teyma, is digged a kind of 
black rock-alum, shubb ej-Jemdl and used as medicine for their 



" THE KASARA WORSHIP LDOLS." 297 

sick camels. From Teyma, the nomads reckon six nights out to 
Jauf ; the way is seldom trodden ; the Nefvid lying between is here 
but a journey over. The stages are, TJbbeyt, a principal summer 
station of the Sherarat (and there is some ruined site), the water 
rises where they dig with their hands ; then Thulla Helwan, 
(other than the Helwan mountain, which is one day eastward 
from Teyma) ; Areyj, in the Nefud, Towil, \Sfan or el-Jeyn, ed- 
Ddha. Rarely any ride from hence to Maan, the nomad journeys 
are — 1. Thulla Thafya, 2. Dubbel, 8. el-Agel, 4. el-Agab (of 
Akaba) : they hold J. Tobey(k)ch, at the distance of half a day or 
more upon the right hand, a mountain, they say, standing east 
and west, and greater than Irnan. The snow lies long upon 
J. Tobeych in winter ; it is two nights out from Maan. 

At evening we were gathered a great coffee company at our 
host's fire, and some beginning their talk of the Christian reli- 
gion, were offended that " the Nasara worship idols, and this not 
only, but that they blaspheme the apostle." Also they said, " It 
is a people that know no kind of lawful wedlock, but as beasts, 
they follow their natural affection ; the lights quenched in 
their religious assemblies, there is a cursed meddling among 
them in strange and horrible manner, the son it may be lying 
in savage blindness with his own mother, in manner, wellah, as 
the hounds : — in such wise be gotten the cursed generation of 
Nasranies, that very God confound them ! (the speaker dared to 
add) and this Nasrany I durst say cannot know his own father. 
Besides, they have other heathenish customs among them, as when 
a Christian woman dies to bury her living husband along with 
her." Almost the like contumelies are forged by the malicious 
Christian sects, of the Druses their neighbours in the mountain 
villages of Syria. " Friends, I answered, these are fables of a 
land far off, and old wives' malice of things unknown ; but listen 
and I will tell you the sooth in all." A Fejiry Beduin here 
exclaimed, "Life of this fire! Khalil lies not; wellah even though 
he be a Nasrany, he speaks the truth in all among the Aarab ; 
there could no Musslim be more true spoken. Hear him !- — and 
say on, Khalil." — " This is the law of marriage given by God in 
the holy religion of the Messiah, ' the son of Miriam from the 
Spirit of Ullah,' — it is thus spoken of him in your own Scrip- 
tures." — " Sully Ullah aley-hu (they all answered), whom the 
Lord bless, the Lord's grace be with him," breathing the accus- 
tomed benediction as the name is uttered in their hearing of a 
greater prophet. — " As God gave to Adam Hawwa, one woman, 
so is the Christian man espoused to one wife. It is a bond of 
religion until the dying of either of them ; it is a faithful fellow- 
ship in sickness, in health, in the felicity and in the calamity of 



298 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

the world, and whether she bear children or is barren : and that 
may never be broken, saving because of adultery." — " But, said 
they, the woman is sooner old than her husband ; if one may not 
go from his wife past age to wed another, your law is not just." 
One said, laughing, " Khalil, we have a better religion, thy rule 
were too strait for us ; I myself have wedded one with another 
wives fifteen. What say you, companions ? in the hareem are 
many crooked conditions ? I took some, I put away some, ay 
billah ! until I found some with whom I might live." 

Certain of them now said, " But true is that proverb, ' There 
are none so little Moslems as the Moslemin ' and God for their 
sins cannot bless them ; be not the very kafirs better than we ? 
Yet tell us this, Khalil, — is not in every place of your wor- 
ship a malediction pronounced daily, upon God's messenger 
Mohammed ? " — " Some of you (I said) are not good ; I am 
weary of your malicious fables. Mohammed we do not blas- 
pheme, whom ye call your prophet : but a prayer is offered 
for you daily in all our Churches that God may have mercy 
upon you. Tell me when did Mohammed live ? Six ages 
after the Missieh : it was time then to teach your gross idola- 
trous fathers ; — are you better than your fathers ? " — " God wot 
we are better : our fathers were in the Ignorance." — " But we 
no ; you are newly come up, we are as your elder brethren : — as 
for me I take every religion to be good, by which men are made 
better. I can respect then your religion." Said he of the many 
marriages, " Ha ! the Nasranies are good folk, and if they say 
a word they will keep it, and are faithful men in every trust, 
so are not we : somewhat I learned too of their religion from 
Abu Faris — who remembers not Abu Faris ? We heard from 
him that, before all, they have certain godly precepts, as 
these : kill not, steal not, covet not, do no adultery, lie 
not, which you see how religiously they keep ! " They en- 
quired then of the Towrat (the roll of Moses' books), and 
the Enqil (Evangel), which they allow to be of old time 
kelam Ullah, ' God's word ; ' but since falsified by the notorious 
ill-faith of Yahud and Nasara, only in envy and contempt of 
el-Islam ; and now annulled by the perfect koran sent down from 
heaven, by the hand of Mohammed, " The Seal of the prophets and 
the Beloved of Ullah." The Mohammedan world is generally 
therefore merely ignorant of our Scriptures. This is cause why 
their ghostly doctors blunder to death in the ancient histories 
and their hagiology: the koran itself is full of a hundred mad 
mistold tales and anachronisms. Yet because the former Books 
of God's word were revealed to the Jews and Christians, we are 
named by their writers " People of the Scriptures," and in the 



" THE PEOPLE OF THE SCRIPTURES." 299 

common discourse " Teachers," as from whom is derived to them 
the elder body of religious tradition and all human learning. 
(This title, Mudllem, I have not heard spoken in the wholly 
Mohammedan Arabia.) They lay to our charge that we " make 
<iod partners" dividing the only Godhead and sinfully worship- 
ping idols. The root of religion is affection, the whole stands 
by opinion ; the Mohammedan theology is ineptitude so evident 
that it were only true in the moon : to reason with them were 
breath lost, will is their reason. Good Moslems have often 
commiserated my religious blindness, saying, " Alas ! that a veil 
was before my eyes, but God so willed it." 

They listened at my saying, " Teyma is mentioned in the 
Towrat." They asked under what name ? — " Tema " ; also 
Tenia is one of the sons of Ishmael, called by the name of his 
village. Teyma is intended in Isaiah, from whence the cara- 
vaners of Dedan, scattered before the bow and the sword of 
the Beduw, are relieved with bread and water. My hearers 
answered, " But the old name was Tonia." 

Nejd Beduins are more fanatic, in the magnanimous ignor- 
ance of their wild heads, but with all this less dangerous than 
the village inhabitants, soberly instructed and settled in their 
koran reading. There was a scowling fellow at my elbow who 
had murmured all the evening ; now as I rested he said, ' I 
was like a fiend in the land, akhs ! a Yahudy ! ' As T turned 
from him, neighbours bade me not to mind this despiteful 
tongue, saying " Khalil, it is only a Beduwy." The poor man, 
who was of Bishr, abashed to be named Beduwy among them in 
the town, cast down his eyes and kept silence. One whispered 
to Zeyd, " If anything happen to him have you not to answer to 
the Dowla? he might die among you of some disease." But 
Zeyd answered with a magnanimity in bis great tones, " Henna 
ma na sadikin billah, Are we not confiding in God ! " — The 
company rose little before midnight, and left us to lie down 
in our mantles, on the coffee-house floor. Sleyman said a last 
petulant word, ' How could I, a civil man, wander with the wild 
Beduw that were melaun el-weyladeyn, of cursed kind ? ' 

It was not long before we heard one feeling by the walls. 
Zeyd cried, " Who is there ? " and sat up leaning on his elbow in 
the feeble moonlight. "Kise, Zeyd, (said an old wife's voice,) 
I come from Hirfa, the Aarab are about removing." Zeyd 
answered, wearily stretching himself, " A punishment fall upon 
them : " — we must needs then march all this night. As we stood 
up we were ready ; there is no superstitious leave-taking among 
them ; and we stepped through our host Sleyman's dark gate 



300 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

into the street, never to meet with him again, and came at the 
end of the walled ways to the Beduins, who were already load- 
ing in the dark. Zeyd, reproving their changeable humour, 
asked a reason of this untimely wandering ; " We would not, 
they answered, be longer guests, to eat the bread of the 
Teyamena." They being all poor folk, had seen perhaps but cold 
hospitality. 

We held south, and rode soon by some ruins, " of ancient 
Teyma, (they told me) and old wells there." They alighted near 
dawn ; discharging the beasts, we made fires, and lay down to 
slumber awhile. Eemounting from thence, after few miles, we 
passed some appearance of ruins, Burjesba, having upon the south 
a mountain, J. Jerbua. At the mid-afternoon we met with our 
tribesmen marching ; they had removed twice in our absence : 
the Aarab halted to encamp few miles further. As said, this year 
was big with troubles, the Fukara were now fugitives. The 
Beny Wahab, as borderers, having least profit of Ibn Kashid's 
government, are not cheerful payers of his zika. The Fejir had 
withheld the light tax, five years, until the Emir, returning last 
summer with his booty of the W. Aly, visited them in the 
wilderness, and exacted his arrears, only leaving them their own, 
because they had submitted themselves. The Fukara were not 
yet in open enmity with the Welad Aly, as the Prince had 
prescribed to them, only they were " not well " together ; but 
our Fejir were daily more in mistrust of the terrible Emir. 
Every hour they thought they saw his riders upon them, and 
the menzil taken. They would go therefore from their own 
wandering ground, and pass from his sight into the next Bishr 
dira. 



CHAPTER XL 



THE FUKARA WANDERING AS FUGITIVES IN ANOTHER DIRA. 

The Beduin camp by night without tents. Children without clothing in the 
cold. A forced march. They are little wearied by camel-riding. J. Birrd. 
Sunsetting glories in the desert. The milch cattle dry after the long journey. 
We encamp in the Bishr circuit. A little herd-boy missing. Marhab's hand- 
plant. Removing and encamping. Some remains of ancient occupation. Trivet 
stones in the empty desert. Cattle paths over all. We go to visit Abu Zeyd's 
effigy. Desert creatures. The owl ivas a nomad wife seeking her lost child. 
Breakfast of dandelions. Hospitable herdsmen. Abu Zeyd and Alia his wife. 
We discover a i water of the rock.' A plant of nightshade. Herding lasses. 
The sheykhs' mares. Rain toward. The Beduins encamped in the Nefud. 
Sounding sands. " The kahwa of the Nasdra." Whether tea be wine. Hirfa 
invited to tea. The wet mare. The Arabian horses mild as their nomad house- 
holds. Horse-shoes. Firing a mare. Zeyd plays the Solubby. They look 
with curious admiration upon writing. Beduin traders come from Jauf. The 
Beduins weary of the destitute life of the desert. Their melancholy. Men and 
women dote upon tobacco. A tobacco seller. His malicious extortion moves 
Zeyd's anger. ' For three things a man should not smoke tobacco ' (words of 
a Nomad maker of lays). The tribe is divided into two camps. The samhh 
plant. Wild bread in the wilderness. The Nasrdny in danger of a serpent. 
1 Readers ' of spells. The ligature unknown. One seeks medicine who had sucked 
the poisoned wound of a serpent. Blood stones, snake stones, precious stones. 
Eyyal Amm. " I am the Lord thy God." Contentions among them. The 
Nomad sheykhs* wise government. One wounded in a strife. Are the Fehjdt 
Yahud Kheybar ? A fair woman. Allay da sheykhs exiles. Half-blooded tribes- 
men. Evening mirth at the tent fire. Some learn to speak English. Zeyd 
would give one of his wives in marriage to the Nasrdny his brother. Marriage 
in the desert. Herding maidens in the desert. The desert day till the evening. 
Desert land of high plains and mountain passages. The short spring refresh- 
ment of the desert year. The lambing time. The camels calve. The milch 
camel. Milk diet. The kinds of milk. The saurian Hamed sheykh of wild 
beasts. The jerboa. The wabbar. The wolf eaten and the hyena. The wild 
goat. The gazelle. The antelope. Is the Wothyhi the unicorn ? Scorpions. 
The leopard. The wild cat. Buzzards, hawks, and eagles. 

In this menzil, because the people must march from the 
morrow, the booths were struck and their baggage had been 
made up before they slept. The Beduin families lay abroad under 
the stars, beside their household stuff and the unshapely full 



-? 



3 02 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

sweating water-skins. The night was cold, at an altitude of 
3600 feet. I saw the nomads stretched upon the sand, wrapped 
in their mantles : a few have sleeping carpets, ekim. under 
them, made of black worsted stuff like their tent-cloth, but of 
the finer yarn and better weaving, adorned with a border of 
chequerwork of white and coloured wool and fringes gaily dyed. 
The ekims of Teyma have a name in this country. 

It was chill under the stars at this season, marching before 
the sun in the open wilderness. The children of the poor 
have not a mantle, only a cotton smock covers their tender 
bodies; some babes are even seen naked. I found 48° F., and 
when the sun was fairly up 86°. It was a forced march ; the 
flocks and the herds, et-tursh, were driven forth beside us. At a 
^ need the Beduw spare not the cattle which are all their wealth, 
but think they do well to save themselves and their substance, 
even were it with the marring of some of them ; their camel 
kine great with young were now daily calving, The new-yeaned 
lambs and kids, the tottering camel-calf of less than five days 
old, little whelps, which they would rear, of the hounds of the 
encampment, are laid by the housewives, with their own chil- 
dren, upon the burden camels. Each mother is seen riding 
upon a camel in the midst of the roll of her tent-cloth or carpet, 
in the folds lie nested also the young animals ; she holds her 
little children before her. Small children, the aged, the sick, 
and even bed-rid folk, carried long hours, show no great signs 
of weariness in camel-riding. Their suffering persons ride 
seated in a nest of tent-cloth ; others, who have been herdsmen, 
kneel or lie along, not fearing to fall, and seem to repose thus 
upon the rolling camel's bare back. It is a custom of the desert 
to travel fasting : however long be the rahla, the Aarab eat only 
when they have alighted at the menzil ; yet mothers will give 
their children to drink, or a morsel in their mouths, by the long- 
way. 

Journeying in this tedious heat, we saw first, in the afternoon 
horizon, the high solitary sandstone mountain J. Birrd. ' Yon- 
der thulla," cried my neighbours in their laughing argot, " is the 
sheykh of our dira." Birrd has a height of nearly 5000 feet. At 
the right hand there stretches a line of acacia trees in the wil- 
derness plain, the token of a dry seyl bed ; Go, which descends, 
they said, from a day westward of Kheybar, and ends here 
in the desert. In all this high country, between Teyma and 
Tebuk and Medain Salih, there are no wadies. The little latter 
rain that may fall in the year is but sprinkled in the sand. 
Still journeying, this March Sun which had seen our rahla, 
rising, set behind us in a stupendous pavilion of Oriental glories, 



A LONG BAH LA. 



303 



which is not seldom in these Arabian waste marches, where the 
atmosphere is never quite unclouded. We saw again the cold 
starlight before the fainting households alighted under Bind 
till the morrow, when they w r ould remove anew; the weary 
hareem making only a shelter from the night wind of the ttnt- 
cloths spread upon two stakes. It was in vain to s-eek milk of 
the over-driven cattle with dry udders. This day Ihe ncmad 
village was removed at once more than for. y miles. In com- 
mon times these wandering graziers take their menzils and 
dismiss the cattle to pasture, before high noon. — Hastily, as 
we saw the new day, we removed, and pitched few miles 
beyond in the Bishr dira ; from hence they reckoned thiee 
journeys to Hayil, the like from Dai el-Hamra, a day and a -hah 
to Teyma. 

A poor woman came weeping to my tent, entreating me 
to see and divine in my books what were become of her child. 
The little bare-foot boy was with the sheep, and had been miss- 
ing after yesterday's long rahla. The mother was hardly to be 
persuaded, in her grief, that my books were not cabalistical. I 
could not persuade the 
dreary indifference of 
the Arabs in her men- 
zil to send back some 
of them, besides the 
child's father, to seek 
him : of their own mo- 
tion they know not any 
such charity. If the 
camel of some poor 
widow woman be 
strayed, there is no 
man will ride upon the 
traces for human kind- 
ness, unless she can 
pay a real. The little 
herd-boy was found in 
the end of the en- 
campment, where first 
he had lighted upon a 
kinsman's tent. 

We removed from 
thence a little within 
the high white borders 
of the Nefud, march- 
ing through a sand 




\ 



lowilan, rock -pi liar fully 60 ft. high 
Camp Mrsnhlia 



3 04 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

country full of last year's plants of the " rose of Jericho." These 
Beduw call them ch(k)ef Marhab. Kef is the hollow palm, with 
the fingers clenching upon it. Marhab is in their tradition 
sheykh of old Jewish Kheybar. We found also the young herb, 
two velvet green leaves, which has the wholesome smack of 
cresses, and is good for the nomad cattle. The Aarab alighted 
afterward in the camping ground Ghrormul el-Mosubba ; known 
from far by the landmark of a singular tower-like needle of sand- 
stone, sixty feet high, the Towilan. (See p. 303.) The third day 
we removed from thence, with mist and chill wind blowing, to 
J. Chebad: from Chebad we went to the rugged district el- 
Jebdl. After another journey, we came to pitch before the 
great sandstone mountain chine of Irnan, in Nejd. Beyond 
this we advanced south-eastward to the rugged coast of Ybba 
Moghrair ; the Beduins, removing every second or third day, 
journeyed seven or eight miles and alighted. I saw about 
el-Jebal other circles of rude flag-stones, set edgewise, as 
those of Jereyda. In another place certain 
two cornered wall-enclosures, of few loose 
courses ; they were made upon low rising 
grounds, and I thought might have been a sort 
of breastworks ; the nomads could give me no 
account of them, as of things before their time 
and tradition. East of Ybba Moghrair, we passed 
the foot of a little antique rude turret in the 
desert soil. I showed it to some riding next me in the rahla. 
" Works (they answered) remaining from the creation of the 
world ; what profit is there to enquire of them ? " " But all 
such to be nothing (said Zeyd) in comparison with that he 
would show me on the morrow, which was a marvel : the 
effigy of Abu Zeyd, a fabulous heroic personage, and dame 
Alia his wife, portrayed upon some cliff of yonder mountain 
Ybba Moghrair." 

Wandering in all the waste Arabia, we often see rude trivet 
stones set by threes together : such are of old nomad pot-fires ; 
and it is a comfortable human token, that some have found to 
cheer themselves, before us, in land where man's life seems 
nearly cast away, but at what time is uncertain ; for stones, as 
they were pitched in that forsaken drought, may so continue 
for ages. The harder and gravel wilderness is seen cross-lined 
everywhere with old trodden camel paths; these are also from 
the old generations, and there is not any place of the immense 
waste, which is not at some time visited in the Aarab 's wander- 
ings ; and yet whilst we pass no other life, it may be, is in 
the compass of a hundred miles about us. There is almost 




THE OWL IS A BEREAVED WOMAN. 305 

no parcel of soil where fuel may not be found, of old camel dung, 
jella, bleaching in the sun ; it may lie three years, and a little 
sand blown upon it, sometime longer. There is another human 
sign in the wilderness, which mothers look upon ; we see almost 
in every new rahla, little ovals of stones, which mark the 
untimely died of the nomads : but grown persons dying in 
their own diras, are borne (if it be not too difficult) to the next 
common burying place. 

On the morrow betimes, Zeyd took his mare and his lance, 
and we set out to visit Abu Zeyd's image, the wonder of this 
desert. We crossed the sand plain, till the noon was hot over us ; 
and come to the mountain, we rounded it some while in vain : Zeyd 
could not find the place. White stains, like sea-marks, are seen 
upon certain of those desolate cliffs, they are roosting-places of 
birds of prey, falcons, buzzards and owls : their great nests of 
sticks are often seen in wild crags of these sandstone marches. 
In the waterless soil live many small animals which drink not, 
as rats and lizards and hares. We heard scritching owls some- 
times in the still night ; then the nomad wives and children 
answered them with mocking again Ymgebds ! Ymgebds ! The 
hareem said, " It is a wailful woman, seeking her lost child 
through the wilderness, which was turned into this forlorn bird." 
Fehjies eat the owl ; for which they are laughed to scorn by the 
Beduw, that are devourers of some other vermin. 

We went upon those mountain sides until we were weary. 
A sheykh's son, a coffee companion from his youth, and here in 
another dira, Zeyd could not remember his landmarks. It was 
high noon ; we wandered at random, and, for hunger and thirst, 
plucking wild dandelions sprung since some showers in those 
rocks, we began to break our fast. At length, looking down at 
a deep place, we espied camels, which went pasturing under the 
mountain: there we found Fehjat herdsmen. The images, they 
said, were not far before us, they would put us in the way, but 
first they bade us sit down to refresh ourselves. The poor men 
then ran for us under the nagas' udders, and drew their milk- 
skin full of that warm sustenance. — Heaven remember for good 
the poor charitable nomads ! When we had drunk they came 
along with us, driving the cattle : a little strait opened further,, 
it was a long inlet in the mountain bosom, teeming green 
with incomparable freshness, to our sense, of rank herbage. At 
the head of this garden of weeds is an oozy slumbering pool ; 
and thereabove I perceived the rocks to be full of scored inscrip- 
tions, and Abu Zeyd's yard-high image, having in his hand the 
crooked camel stick, bakhorra, or, as the Aarab say, who cannot 

D. T. 20 



306 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A, 

judge of portraiture, a sword : beside him, is a lesser, per- 
haps a female figure, which they call " Alia his wife." It is 
likely that these old lively shapes were battered, with a stone, 
upon the sandstone ; they are not as the squalid scrawling 
portraiture of the Beduw, but limned roundly to the natural 
with the antique diligence. Here are mostly short Himyaric 
legends, written (as is common in these deserts) from above 
downwards ; the names doubtless, the saws, the salaams, of many 
passengers and cameleers of antique generations. Ybba, is 
said for Abu, father, in these parts of Arabia, and at Medina ; 
Moghrair, is perhaps cave. I bade Zeyd let me have a milch 
naga and abandon me here with Abu Zeyd. Zeyd answered 
(with a fable), he had already paid a camel to Bishr, for licence 
to show me their Abu Zeyd. The Fehjat answered simply, " A 
man might not dwell here alone, in the night time, the demons 
would affray him." 

As we came again, Zeyd lighted upon a natural sanded basin 
among the rocks, under the mountain, and there sounding with 
his hands to the elbow, he reached to a little stinking moisture. 
Zeyd smiled vaingloriously, and cried, ' Ha ! we had discovered a 
new water. Wellah, here is water a little under the mire, the hind 
shall come hither to-morrow and fill our girbies.' Thereby grew 
a nightshade weed, now in the berry ; the Beduin man had not 
seen the like before, and bade me bear it home to the menzil, 
to be conned by the hareem : — none of whom, for all their wise 
looking, knew it. "A stranger plant (said they) in this dira:" 
it is housewifely amongst them to be esteemed cunning in 
drugs and simples. Lower, we came to a small pool in the rock; 
the water showed ruddy-brown and ammoniacal, the going down 
was stained with old filth of camels. " Ay (he said) of this 
water would we draw for our coffee, were there none other." 
Upon the stone I saw other Himyaric legends. And here sat 
two young shepherd lasses ; they seeing men approach, had left 
playing, their little flock wandered near them. Zeyd, a great 
sheykh, hailed them with the hilarity of the desert, and the 
ragged maidens answered him in mirth again : they fear none of 
their tribesmen, and herding maidens may go alone with the 
flocks far out of seeing of the menzil in the empty wilderness. 
We looked up and down, but could not espy Zeyd's mare, 
which, entering the mountain, he had left bound below, the 
headstall tied back, by the halter, to an hind limb in the nomad 
manner. Thus, making a leg at every pace, the Beduin mare 
may graze at large; but cannot wander far. At length, from 
a high place, we had sight of her, returning upon her traces to 
the distant camp. " She is thirsty (said Zeyd), let her alone and 



SOUNDING SAND HILLS. 307 

she will find the way home:" — although the black booths were 
jet under our horizon. So the nomad horses come again of them- 
selves, and seek their own households, when they would drink 
water. Daily, when the sun is well risen, the Beduin mare is 
hop-shackled with iron links, which are opened with a key, and 
loosed out to feed from her master's tent. The horses wander, 
seeking each other, if the menzils be not wide scattered, and 
.go on pasturing and sporting together: their sheykhly masters 
take no more heed of them than of the hounds of the encamp- 
ment, until high noon, when the mares, returning homeward of 
themselves, are led in to water. They will go then anew to 
pasture, or stand shadowing out that hot hour in the master's 
booth (if it be a great one). They are grazing not far off till 
the sun is setting, when they draw to their menzils, or are 
fetched home and tethered for the night. 

There hopped before our feet, as we came, a minute brood of 
second locusts, of a leaden colour, with budding wings like the 
spring leaves, and born of those gay swarms which, a few weeks 
before, had passed over and despoiled the desert. After forty 
-days these also would fly as a pestilence, yet more hungry than 
the former, and fill the atmosphere. We saw a dark sky over 
the black nomad tents, and I showed Zeyd a shower falling 
before the westing sun. — " Would God, he answered, it might 
reach us ! " Their cattle's life in this languishing soil is of a 
very little rain. The Arabian sky, seldom clear, weeps as the 
weeping of hypocrites. 

We removed from hence, and pitched the black booths upon 
that bleakness of white sand which is, here, the Nefud, whose 
■edge shows all along upon the brown sandstone desert : a seyi 
bed, Terrai, sharply divides them. The Aarab would next 
remove to a good well, el-Hyza, in the Nefud country, where in 
good years they find the spring of new pasture : but there being 
little to see upon this border, we returned another day towards 
the Helwdn mountain ; in which march I saw other (eight or 
nine yards large) circles of sandstone flags. Dreary was this 
Arabian rahla ; from the March skies there soon fell a tempest of 
<?old rain, and, alighting quickly, the Beduin women had hardly 
breath in the whirling shower to build their booths : — a hejra 
may be put up in three minutes. In the tents, we sat out the 
stormy hours upon the moist sand in our stiffened wet mantles ; 
And the windy drops fell through the ragged tilt upon us. In 
the Nefud, towards el-Hyza, are certain booming sand hills, 
Bowsa, Deffafiat, Subbia and Irzum, such as the sand drift of 
J. Nagus, by the sea village of Tor, in Sinai: the upper sand 
sliding down under the foot of the passenger, there arises, of 

20—2 



308 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

the infinite fretting grains, such a giddy loud swelling sound, as? 
when your wetted finger is drawn about the lip of a glass of 
water, and like that swooning din after the chime of a great bell,, 
or cup of metal. — Nagus is the name of the sounding-board in 
the belfry of the Greek monastry, whereupon as the sacristan 
plays with his hammer, the timber yields a pleasant musical note, 
which calls forth the formal colieros to their prayers : another 
such singing sand drift, el-Howayria, is in the cliffs (east of the 
Mezham,) of Medain Salih. 

The afternoon was clear ; the sun dried our wet clothing, 
and a great coffee party assembled at Zeyd's tent. He had 
promised Khalil would make chai (tea), " which is the coffee- 
drink, he told them, of the Nasara. — And, good Khalil, since 
the sheykhs would taste thy chai, look thou put in much 
sugar." I had to-day pure water of the rain in the desert,, 
and that tea was excellent. Zeyd cried to them, " And how 
likes you the kahwat of the Nasara ? " They answered, " The 
sugar is good, but as for this which Khalil calls chai, the smack 
of it is little better than warm water." They would say " Thin 
drink, and not gross tasting" as is their foul-water coffee. 
Rahyel drank his first cup out, and returned it mouth downward 
(a token with them that he would no more of it), saying, " Khalil, 
is not this el-khamr ? the fermented or wine of the Nasara : " and 
for conscience sake he would not drink ; but the company sipped 
their sugar-drink to the dregs, and bade the stranger pour out 
more. I called to Rahyel's remembrance the Persians drinking 
chai in the Haj caravan. Beduins who tasted tea the second 
time, seeing how highly I esteemed it, and feeling themselves 
refreshed, afterward desired it extremely, imagining this drink 
with sugar to be the comfort of all human infirmities. But I 
could never have, for my asking, a cup of their fresh milk ; they 
put none in their coffee, and to put whole milk to this kahwat 
en-Nasdra seemed to them a very outlandish and waste using of 
God's benefit. When I made tea at home, I called in Hirfa to 
drink the first cup, saying to the Beduins that this was our 
country manner, where the weaker sex was honourably regarded. 
Hirfa answered, " Ah ! that we might be there among you ! 
Khalil, these Beduw here are good for nothing, billah, they are 
wild beasts ; to-day they beat and to-morrow they abandon the 
hareem : the woman is born to labour and suffering, and in 
the sorrow of her heart, it nothing avails that she can speak." 
The men sitting at the hearths laughed when Hirfa preached. 
She cried peevishly again, " Yes, laugh loud ye wild beasts ! — 
Khalil, the Beduw are heathens ! " and the not happy young 
wife smiled closely to the company, and sadly to herself again. 



THE BEDUIN MARE. 



309 



Evening clouds gathered ; the sheykhs going homewards had 
wet mantles. The mare returned of herself through the falling 
weather, and came and stood at our coffee fire, in half human 
wise, to dry her soaked skin and warm herself, as one among us. 
It may be said of the weak nomad horses, that they have no gall. 
I have seen a mare, stabling herself in the mid-day shadow of the 
master's booth, that approached the sitters about the coffee hearth 
and putting down her soft nose the next turned their heads 
to kiss her, till the sheykh rose to scold his mare away. They 
are feeble, of the slender and harsh desert forage ; and gentle to 
that hand of man, which is as the mother's teat to them in the 
wilderness. Wild and dizzy camels are daily seen, but seldom 
impetuous horses, and perverse never : the most are of the bay 
•colour. The sheykh's hope is in his mare to bear him with ad- 
vantage upon his enemy, or to save him hastily from the field ; 
it is upon her back he may best take a spoil and outride all who 
;are mounted upon theluls. Nor she (nor any life, of man or 
beast, besides the hounds) is ever mishandled amongst them. 
The mare is not cherished by the master's household, yet her 
natural dwelling is at the mild nomad tent. She is allied to the 
beneficent companionship of man ; his shape is pleasant to her 
in the inhospitable khala. The mildness of the Arab's home 
is that published by their prophet of the divine household ; 
mild-hearted is the koran Ullah, a sovereign Semitic house- 
father, how indulgent to his people ! The same is an adversary, 
-cruel and hard, to an alien people. 

The nomad horse we see here shod as in Syria with a plate 
open in the midst, which is the Turkish manner ; these sheukh 
purchase their yearly provision of horse-shoes in the Haj market. 
I have seen the nomads' horses shod even in the sand country 
of Arabia : yet upon the Syrian borders a few are left with- 
out shoes, and some are seen only hind-shod. The sany who 
followed our tribe — he was accounted the best smith, in all 
work of iron, of that country side, not excepted Teyma — was 
their farrier. One day I went with Zeyd to see his work. 
We found the man-of -metal firing Kahyel's mare, which had 
a drawn hind leg, and as they are ready-handed with a few 
tools he did it with his ramrod of iron ; the end being made 
red-hot in the fire, he sealed and seared the infirm muscles. 
I saw the suffering creature without voice, standing upon 
three legs, for the fourth was heaved by a cord in stiff 
hands. The Beduw, using to fire their camels' bodies up and 
down, make not much more account of the mare's skin, how 
whole it be or branded. They look only that she be of the 
.blood, a good breeder, and able to serve her master in war- 



310 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

fare. Rahyel quitted the sany's hire ; Zeyd, who waited for the 
ends of the smith's labour, had brought his hands full of old 
horse-shoes, and bade him beat them into nails, against his mare 
should be shod. Zeyd went to pull dry sticks, kindled a bonfire, 
and when it had burned awhile he quenched all with sand ; 
and taking up the weak charcoal in his mantle, he went to 
lay it upon the forge fire (a hearth-pit in the sand). Then 
this great sheykh sat down himself to the pair of goat-skin 
bellows, and blew the sany a blast. It was a mirth to see 
how Zeyd, to save his penny, could play the Solubby, and such 
he seemed sweating between two fires of the hot coals and the 
scalding sun at high noon, till the hunger-bitten chaps were 
begrimed of his black and, in fatigue, hard-favoured visage. 
Finally, rising with a sigh, " Khalil, he said, art thou not weary 
sitting abroad in the sun? yonder is Rahyel's booth, let us 
enter m the shadow; he is a good man, and will make us 
coffee." Thus even the Beduins are impatient of the Arabian 
sun's beating upon their pates, unless in the rahla, that is, 
when the air about them is moving.—" Peace be with thee, 
Rahyel, I bring Khalil ; sit thee down by me, Khalil, and let us 
see thee write Rahyel's name ; write * Rahyel el-Fejiry, the 
sheykh, he that wedded the bint at Teyma':" they kneeled 
about me with the pleased conceit of unlettered mortals, to see 
their fugitive words detained and laid up in writing. 

There arrived at our camp some Beduin traders, come over 
the Nefud from Jauf : they were of Bishr. And there are such 
in the tribes, prudent poor men, that would add to their liveli- 
hood by the peaceable and lawful gain of merchandise, rather 
than by riding upon ungodly and uncertain ghrazzus. The 
men brought down samn and tobacco, which they offered at 
two-thirds of the price which was now paid in these sterile 
regions. Yet the Aarab, iniquitous in all bargains, would hardly 
purchase of them at so honest and easy a rate ; they would 
higgle-haggle for a little lower, and finally bought not at all; 
— sooner than those strangers should win, they would pay double 
the money later at el-Ally ! and they can wait wretchedly 
thus, as the dead, whilst a time passes over them. A little 
more of government, and men such as these traders would leave 
the insecure wandering life, (which all the Aarab, for the in- 
cessant weariness and their very emptiness of heart, have 
partly in aversion,) to become settlers. Beduins complain in 
their long hours of the wretchedness of their lives ; and they 
seem then wonderfully pensive, as men disinherited of the world. 
Human necessitous malice has added this to the affliction of 



THE NOMAD MUSING MELANCHOLY. 



3" 



nature, that there should be no sure passage in Arabia : and 
when there is dearth in any dira, because no autumn rain has 
fallen there, or their hope was devoured by the locust, the land- 
traffic may hardly reach them. 

The destitute Beduw, in their idle tents, are full of musing 
melancholy ; if any blame them they answer in this pensive 
humour : " Aha, truly the Aarab are bahdim, brute beasts ; 
mesakin, mes quins ; kutaat ghranem, dubbush, a drove of silly 
sheep, a mixed herd of small cattle ; juhdl, ignorant wretches ; 
mejanin, lunatic folk ; affinin, corrupt to rottenness ; haramiyeh, 
law-breakers, thieves ; kuffdr, heathen men ; mithil es-seyd, 
like as the fallow beasts, scatterlings in the wilderness, and not 
having human understanding." And when they have said all, 
they will add, for despite, of themselves, wellah, el-Aarab kildb, 
" and the nomads are hounds, God knoweth." But some will 
make a beggarly vaunt of themselves, " the Aarab are jinnies 
and sheyatin," that is witty fiends to do a thing hardily and 
endure the worst, without fear of God. Between this sorry 
idleness in the menzils and their wandering fatigue they all 
dote, men and women, upon tittun, tobacco. The dry leaf 
(which they draw from el-Ally and Teyma) is green, whether, 
as they say, because this country is dewless, or the Arabian 
villagers have not learned to prepare it. They smoke the 
green dried leaf, rubbed between the palms from the hard 
stalks, with a coal burning upon it. I have seen this kind 
as far as the borders of Syria, where the best is from Shobek 
and J. Kerak, it is bitter tasting ; the sweetest in this country 
is that raised by Beduin husbandmen of the Moahib, in Wady 
Aurush upon the sea side of the Aueyrid Harra, over against 
el-Hejr. 

Our wandering village maintained a tobacco seller, an 
Ally villager, who lived amongst them in nomad wise in the 
desert, and was wedded with a tribeswoman of theirs. The 
man had gathered a little stock, and was thriving in this base 
and extortionate traffic. It irked the lean Beduin souls to 
see the parasite grow fat of that which he licked vilely from their 
beards. Seeing him merry they felt themselves sad, and for a 
thing too which lay upon their consciences. The fault bewitched 
them ; also they could not forbid a neighbour the face of the 
free desert. Thus the bread of the poor, who before had not 
half enough, was turned to ashes. He let them have here for 
twelve pence only so much as was two penny-worth at el- 
Ally ; the poor soul who brought him a kid in payment, to-day, 
that would be valued before the year was out at two crowns, 
comforted himself with his pipe seven days for this loss of a head 



3 i2 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

of cattle, having a half groat to " drink " of the villager's tobacco, 
or rather the half of two pence, for, wetting the leaves, that 
malicious Alowwy had devised to make the half part fill his 
pint measure. After the men, I saw poor tobacco-sick hareem 
come clamouring to his tent, and holding in their weak hands 
bottoms of their spun wool and pints of samn which they have 
spared perhaps to buy some poor clothing, but now they cannot 
forbear to spend and ' drink ' smoke : or else having naught, 
they borrow of him, with thanksgiving, at an excessive usury. 
And if the extortioner will not trust one she pitifully entreats 
him, that only this once, he would fill her cold galhun, and 
say not nay, for old kindness sake. Zeyd though so principal 
a sheykh would buy no tobacco himself, but begged all day, 
were it even of the poorest person in a coffee company : then 
looking lovely he would cry, min y'dmir-ly, " Who (is he the 
friend) will replenish (this sebil) for my sake ? " For faintness of 
mind in this deadly soil they are all parasites and live basely one 
upon another : Beduins will abjectly beg tobacco even of their 
poor tribesAvomen. Zeyd came one day into the mejlis com- 
plaining of the price of tittun, and though it cost him little or 
naught ; and sitting down he detested, with an embittered 
roughness in his superhuman comely voice, all the father's kin of 
Alowna. " Ullah ! (he cried) curse this Sleyman the tittun-seller ! 
I think verily he will leave this people erelong not even their 
camels ! " Tobacco is this world's bliss of many in the idle desert, 
against whom the verses of a Beduin maker are currently recited 
in all their tribes : " For three things a man should not ' drink ' 
smoke : is not he a sot that will burn his own fingers (in taking 
up a coal from the hearth to lay it in his pipe-head), and he that 
willingly wasteth his substance (spending for that which is not 
bread), and withal he doth it ungodly." 

The Fejir wandered in the strange Bishr marches not with- 
out apprehension and some alarms, — then the sheykhs pricked 
forth upon their mares, and the most morrows, they rode out 
two hours to convoy the pasturing great cattle of the tribe, 
el-'bii. The first locusts had devoured the rabia before us ; 
there was now scarcity, and our Beduins must divide them- 
selves into two camps. Motlog removed with his part, in 
which were the most sheykhs, making half a journey from us 
to the westward. Zeyd remained with his fellow Bahyel, who 
had the sheykh's charge in this other part. We marched and 
encamped divided, for many days, in before determined and 
<qual manner. 

I saw often the samhh plant growing, but not abundantly ; 



WILD BREAD. 313 

now a leafless green wort, a hand high, with fleshy stems and 
branches full of brine, like samphire. At each finger end is an 
•eye, where, the plant drying up in the early summer, a grain is 
ripened. In the Sherarat country, where the samhh grows more 
plentifully, their housewives and children gather in this wild 
harvest. The dry stalks are steeped in water, they beat out 
the seed with rods ; and of this small grain their hareem grind 
flour for the daily mess. I had eaten of this wild-bread at 
Maan ; it was black and bitter, but afterward I thought it 
sweet-meat, in the further desert of Arabia. The samhh por- 
ridge is good, and the taste "as camel milk": but the best 
is of the flour, kneaded with dates and a little samn, to be 
eaten raw : — a very pleasant and wholesome diet for travellers, 
who in many open passages durst not kindle fire. 

Now I was free of the Beduins' camp, and welcomed at 
all coffee hearths ; only a few minds were hostile still, of more 
fanatical tribesmen. Often, where I passed, a householder called 
me in from his booth, and when I sat down, with smiles of 
a gentle host, he brought forth dates and leban : this is ' the 
bread and salt,' which a good man will offer once, and confirm 
fellowship with the stranger. The Aarab, although they par- 
doned my person, yet thought me to blame for my religion. 
There happened another day a thing which, since they put all 
to the hand of Ullah, might seem to them some token of a 
Providence which cared for me. Weary, alighting from the 
rahla in blustering weather, I cast my mantle upon the next 
bush, and sat down upon it. In the same place I raised my 
tent and remained sheltered till evening, when the cripple 
<child of our menzil came to me upon all fours for his dole 
of a handful of dates, but at my little tent door he shrieked and 
recoiled hastily. He had seen shining folds of a venomous ser- 
pent, under the bush, — so they will lie close in windy weather. At 
iiis cry Zeyd's shepherd caught a stake from the next beyt, and 
running to, with a sturdy stroke he beat in pieces the poison- 
ous vermin. The viper was horned, more than two feet long, 
the body swollen in front, with brassy speckled scales and a 
broad white belly, ending in a whip-like tail. A herdsman had 
been bitten, last year, by one of this kind in a rahla ; they 
laid him upon a camel, but he died, with anguish and swelling, 
before the people were come to the menzil. A camel stung 
'" will die in an hour," and the humour in so desiccated a soil 
must be very virulent, yet such accidents are seldom in the 
nomad life. I had certainly passed many times over the 
adder, the Beduwy bore it away upon a stick, to make some 
"" salve very good for the camels." We had killed such an 



3 i4 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

adder at Medain. Haj Nejm was with us; they called it 
Umm-jeneyb, ' that moves upon her side.' The lad Moham- 
med divided the head with a cutlass stroke, as she lay sleep- 
ing deafly in the sand against the sun, in many S-shaped 
boughts : the old Moor would have her horns. " Wot ye, in 
the left horn lies the venom, and the antidote is in her 
other, if it be drunken with milk : — or said I amiss ! let 
me think in which of them — : well lads let her be, for I 
have not this thing certainly in mind." There is a horned 
adder in the deserts of Barbary. This tale was told im- 
mediately in the nomad camp, ' the Nasrany escaped from the 
poisonous serpent,' and some asked me in the mejlis, How 
" saw " I the adventure ? Zeyd answered them, " It was God's 
mercy indeed." There was sitting by our fire a rude herding- 
lad, a stranger of Kuwalla, one of those poor young men of 
the tribes, who will seek service abroad, that is with other 
Beduins : for they think, in every other dira may be better 
life, and they would see the world. " Auh ! said he, had she 
bitten thee, Khalil, thou shouldst never have seen thy mother 
again." ' The guilty overtaken from Heaven upon a day,' such 
is the superstition of mankind ; and in such case the Beduins 
would have said, " Of a truth he was God's adversary, the event 
has declared it." 

Surely these pastoral people are the least ingenious of all 
mankind ; is any man or beast bitten, they know nothing better 
than to " read " over him (el-kirreya). Some spells they have 
learned to babble by heart, of words fetched out of the koran ; 
the power of " God's Word," (which commandeth and it is made,) 
they think, should be able to overcome the malignity of venom * 
Some wiseacre " reader " may be found in nearly every wandering 
village ; they are men commonly of an infirm understanding 
and no good conditions, superstitiously deceiving themselves 
and not unwilling to deceive others. The patient's friends send 
for one, weeping, to be their helper : and between his breaths 
their " reader " will spit upon the wound, and sprinkle a little 
salt. The poor Beduins are good to each other, and there is 
sometimes found one who will suck his friend's or a kinsman's 
poisoned wound. Yet all availeth less, they think, than the 
" Word of God," were it rightly " read " ; upon their part, the 
desert " readers," without letters, acknowledge themselves to be 
unlearned. There is also many a bold spirit among the Aarab^ 
of men and women, that being hurt, snatching a brand from the 
hearth, will sear his wounded flesh, till the fire be quenched in the 
suffering fibre : and they can endure pain (necessitous persons,, 
whose livelihood is as a long punishment,) with constant fortitude. 



SNAKE-STONES. 315 

The ligature is unknown to them, but I once found a 
Solubby who had used it : when his wife had been bitten in the 
shin by an adder, he hastily bound the leg above the knee, 
and sucked the venom. A night and a day his wife lay 
dead-like and blackened ; then she revived little and little, and 
came to herself : the woman recovered, but was for a long while 
after discoloured. Charity, that would suck the bite of a serpent, 
must consider is there no hurt in her own lips and mouth, for so 
one might envenom himself. There came to me a man seeking 
medicine, all whose lower lip to the chin was an open ulcer : 
huskily he told me, (for the horrible virus corrupted his voice,) 
that the mischief came to him after sucking a serpent-bite, a year 
past. I said, I hoped to help him with medicines, and freely, as 
his courage had deserved ; but the impatient wretch disdained a 
physician that could not cure him anon. I saw him six months 
later at Teyma, when he said, " See thou ! I am well again ; " all 
the flesh was now as jasper, where the wound had been, which 
was healed in appearance. 

As we, or our nurses, so have they their blood-stones to stay 
bleeding : and among these Beduins is another superstitious 
remedy of snake-stones, in which they think (because the 
stones are few in the world and precious,) there should be 
some recondite virtue to resist the working of venom. The 
Oriental opinion of the wholesome operation of precious stones, 
in that they move the mind with admirable beauties, remains 
perhaps at this day a part of the marvellous estimation of 
inert gems amongst us. Those indestructible elect bodies, as 
stars, shining to us out of the dim mass of matter, are comfort- 
able to our fluxuous feeble souls and bodies : in this sense all 
gems are cordial, and of an influence religious. These elemental 
flowering lights almost persuade us of a serene eternity, and 
are of things, (for the inestimable purity,) which separate us 
from the superfluous study of the world. Even those ancient 
divining stones, which were set one for a tribe, in the vesture 
of the chief priest of Israel, we may suppose to have been partly 
of like significance. Some snake-stones which I have seen were 
cornelian, some were onyxes ; the rough pebbles had been rubbed 
to a smooth face. Not all of one kind were in like estimation,, 
but that was according to their supposed virtue of healing; 
thus certain snake-stones, " which had wrought many great 
cures," were renowned in the country. There came certain 
of these snake-stone men to the Nasrany, and showed me 
their relics apart from common eyes. They had them curiously 
wrapped in clouts, which they took commonly from a bag 
hanging in their bosoms. Turning them to the light in my 



3 1 6 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

hand, I enquired, " What is in these stones more than in all 
the stones of the desert ? if you have more wit than small 
children, let these toys be, and take to the ligature." But then 
the masters, with less friendly looks, put up their things 
hastily, repenting to have shown the pretended charms to any 
uncunning and profane person. There are many free-minded 
men amongst the Beduins, who do not much believe in any- 
thing, beside the circumstance of their religion, and such have 
answered, " If any have made wonderful cures with their snake- 
stones, we have not seen it ourselves ! " but as I said to the 
possessors, " Are you then imposters ? " they answered me 
soberly, " Nay truly ; we can bring many witnesses that 
persons bitten by serpents have been saved by these stones, 
that you speak against ; but thou wast not born in this 
country, and art in such things mistaken." Some men, they 
told me, were owners of stones, with which, " again and again, 
the bites had been cured of most dangerous ' worms ' ; and 
from each person who recovered they had received for their fee, 
a camel." 

All the souls of a tribe or oasis are accounted eyyal amm 
" brothers' children," and reputed brethren of a common ances- 
try. Also kindreds, be they even of other lineage, admitted 
into a tribe, become eyyal amm with them ; as the Moahib, 
which are of the blood of Annezy, engrafted upon Billi, are 
esteemed B/lli, and they are " brothers' children " upon both 
sides. It is an adulation in the tribes, when equals in age 
name each other in their discourse, weled ammy, " mine 
uncle's son." Amm is my father's brother ; also amm is the 
householder, whose guest I am ; and amm is the step-father 
of a wife's child by her former husband. Amm, in the 
mouth of a servant or bond-servant, is the patron of his 
living, (so the Spanish say, after the Moors in Europe, amo). 
One who is elder, to another, and the tribesman to a guest 
in his tribe, may say ibn akhy, son of my brother : abuy, 
" my father," is a reverend title spoken by a lesser to the 
more considerable and worshipful person, as his householder, 
(so David, then a captain of outlaws, to the lawful head of 
his people, king Saul). Full of humanity is that gentle per- 
suasion of theirs from their hearts, for thy good, ana abuk 
" my word is faithful, I am thy father," or ana akhuk, " I 
am thy brother," akhtak, " thy sister," ummak, " thy mother" : 
and akin to these is a sublime word in Moses, which follows 
the divine commandments, " I am the Lord thy God." 

Although tribesmen live together in harmony, the Beduins 



TRIBESMEN AT STRIFE. 317 

are factious spirits ; the infirm heads of the popular sort are 
sudden to strive, and valiant with the tongue as women. Some 
differences spring daily in the wandering village, and upon the 
morrow they are deferred to the mejlis. The oasis dwellers, as 
birds in a cage, are of more sober understanding. Oftentime it 
is a frenetic dispute to ascertain whose may be some trifling 
possession ; wherein each thinks his soul to lie in the balance ; 
as " Whose kid is that ? " (worth twelve pence) — " Wellah, he is 
mine." — " Nay, look, all of you bystanders, and bear witness ;. 
Wellah, is not this my mark cut in his ear ? " The blood is 
eager, of these hearts which lead their lives in famine and 
apprehension, and soon moved : there is a beggarly sharp-set 
magnanimity in their shallow breasts, the weaker of fortune 
mightily disdains to be wronged. Also, from their child- 
hood, there is many an old slumbering difference to be voided. 
- — But such are sooner in the ruder herding sort than in the 
sheykhly kindred, whose displeasures are worn away in the daily 
mejlis and familiar coffee fellowship. A burning word falls 
perhaps from the incontinent lips of some peevish head, the wild- 
fire kindles in their hearts, and weapons are drawn in the field. 
Then any who are standing by will run in to separate their con- 
tention : "No more of this, for God ! (they cry) ; but let your 
matter be duly declared before the sheykhs ; only each one of 
you go now to his place, and we accompany you ; this dissension 
can rest till the morning, when justice shall be done indiffer- 
ently between you both." The nomad sheykhs govern with a 
homely-wise moderation and providence ; they are peace-makers 
in the menzil, and arbiters betwixt the tribesmen. 

One evening a man was led to me bleeding in the arm, he 
had but now received a sword-cut of a Fehjy : they strove for a 
goat, which each maintained to be his own. The poor Fehjy, 
thinking himself falsely overborne, had pulled out his cutlass 
and struck at the oppressor, — neighbours running in laid hands 
upon them both. Zeyd murmured at our fire, " — That any 
Fehjy should be an aggressor ! (The Fehjat, born under a 
lowly star, are of a certain base alloy, an abject kind amongst 
the Aarab.) It was never seen before, that any Fehjy had lifted 
his weapon against a Fejiry." That small kindred of Heteym 
are their hereditary clients and dwellers in their menzils. The 
Fukara sheykhs on the morrow, and Zeyd a chief one with 
them, must judge between the men indifferently : and for aught 
I have learned they amerced the Fejiry, condemning him to 
pay certain small cattle ; for which, some time after, I found 
him and his next kinsmen dwelling as exiles in another tribe.. 
Satisfaction may be yielded (and the same number will be 



318 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

accepted) in any year to come, of the natural increase of his 
stock, and the exiles reestablish themselves : for the malicious 
subtlety of ursury is foreign to the brotherly dealing of the 
nomad tribesmen. 

Passengers in the land say proverbially of these poor 
Fehjat, " The Fehjies are always blithe." And what care should 
he have who lives as the fowls of the air, almost not hoping 
to gain or fearing to lose anything in the world : and com- 
monly they are full of light jesting humour, and merry as 
beggars. Their father is that Marhab, say they, sheykh 
next after the Mohammedan conquest of ancient Kheybar. 
— Are they then the Yahud Kheybar ? I have seen Doolan, 
the prowest and the poorest of these Antarids, cast down a 
night and a day after his lips had uttered to us this mag- 
nanimous confession ; as his grandsire Antara could proudly 
acknowledge his illiberal blood of the mother's side, and be a sad 
man afterward. Believing themselves such, they would sometime 
have the Nasrany to be an ancient kinsman of theirs ; and being 
accused for the name of my religion, this procured me the good 
will of such persons, which were themselves the thralls of an 
insane fortune. Sometimes they said I should take a wife 
of the fairest daughters amongst them ; and Fehjiat (Heteym) 
were, I think, the only two well favoured forms of women in 
this great encampment. As I rode in the midst of a rahla, the 
husband of one of them hailed me cheerfully — I had hardly 
seen them before — " Ho there, Khalil ! " — " Weysh widdak ya zil- 
darny, man, what is thy will ? " — " I say, hast thou any liking to 
wed ? — is not this (his wife) a fair woman ? " And between 
their beggarly mirth and looking for gain, he cries in merry 
earnest, " Wellah, if this like you, I will let her go (saying the 
word of divorce) ; only Khalil, thou wilt suk (drive up cattle, 
that is, pay over to me) five camels," — which he swore fast 
he had given himself for her bride-money. Tall was this 
fair young wife and freshly clad as a beloved ; her middle 
small girt with a gay scarlet lace : barefoot she went upon 
the waste sand with a beautiful erect confidence of the hinds, 
in their native wilderness. "And what (I asked) is thy* mind, 
my sister?" She answered, "So thou wouldst receive me, 
Khalil, I am willing." — Thus light are they in their marriages, 
and nearly all unhappy ! I passed from them in silence at the 
pace of my thelul. Another day, seeing her come to a cir- 
cumcision festival, I saluted her by name, but for some laughing 
word maliciously reported she showed me, with a wounded look, 
that I was fallen under her beautiful displeasure. 

Wandering with the Fehjir we have seen some malcontent 



EXILES IN THE TRIBES. 



319 



sheukh, Allayda, of the W. Aly. Certain households of the 
Fukara were in like manner exiles with the W. Aly. Those 
Allaydies' quarrel had been with Motlog Allayda, their great 
sheykh and kinsman, for the partition of the Haj surra. Motlog 
held that his part was less than enough, and that they received 
more than their due. He then, of his sheykh's authority, 
which is only controlled by the public opinion, would have 
seized their camels. Good men they were not, which is Motlog 
Allayda, by the common report : in a calamity of the W. Aly 
by the enemies' ghrazzus, when I said in those sheykhs' tents, 
I was sorry to hear of their tribesmen's mishap, they answered 
coldly, " But not we, we would God Bishr had brought them 
to greater mischance." There were besides in the Fukara 
menzil two or three households of half-tribesmen, sons of 
former Damascene kella-keepers ; after their fathers' day they 
were become nomads and petty traders with their mothers' 
kindred. Others of their brethren had passed to the civil 
life in the paternal city ; we have seen how they traded yearly 
hither, in the Haj, from Syria. Those which remained in the 
desert were become as the nomads ; but whiter skinned men 
of foreign looks, and of less franchise than the Beduw. Those 
half-blooded Beduins returned every year, in the summer months, 
{weary of their desert wandering,) to pitch their booths before 
the old kella (where they were born) at el-Hejr. Yet one 
of these was the boldest pricker in the tribe. He rode 
a-foraying, as often as he might find any like minded 
with himself, and he being agid there must fall to him, 
of any booty, the leader's share. Then he scoured again the 
empty wilderness, consumed in the sunny drought. Such 
ghrazzuing wretches descrying any byut of hostile Aarab, 
dismount and lurk till nightfall, when they will creep in, 
having left their theluls kneebound out of hearing, and 
they hope thus to take some camels ; but commonly these 
riders returned home fainting from their perilous courses, 
and brought nothing with them. The man was a valiant 
jade. In all their chevying in the desert, his rafik must be 
his eyes ; I found his own half closed with crusts of an old 
running ophthalmia. 

Long were our sultry days since the tribe was divided, and 
without mejlis ; yet the fewer neighbours were now more 
friendly drawn together. Zeyd was always at home, to his beyt 
resorted the sheukh companions, and he made them coffee. 
All cousins together, the host far from all jealousy, and Beduins 
fain to be merry, their often game was of the late passages 
betwixt Hirfa and Zeyd ; they twitted the young wife's demure 



3 20 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

ill humour. " Hirfa ho ! Hirfa, sittest thou silent behind the 
curtain, and have not the hareem a tongue ? Stand up there 
and let that little face of thine be seen above the cloth, and 
clear thyself, before the company. Hirfa ! what is this we- 
hear of thee, art thou still contrary to Zeyd ? Didst thou not 
forsake Zeyd ? and leave Zeyd without an household ? and must 
Khalil bring thee home again ? what hast thou to answer for 
thyself?" Khdlaf Allayda : " Say thy opinion, Khalil, of my 
mare colt. She is well worth thirty-five camels, and her mother 
is worth twenty-five ; but Zeyd's mare is not worth five 
camels : — and hast thou seen my jdra (housewife) ? tell us now 
whether Hirfa be the fairer faced, or she that is mine." Hirfa, 
showing herself with a little pouting look, said she would 
not suffer these comparisons ; " Khalil, do not answer." The 
Aarab playing thus in the tent-life, and their mouths full of the 
broadest raillery, often called for the stranger, to be judge of 
their laughing contentions : as, " Is not this a gomany (enemy) ? 
Khalil, he is a hablus ; what shall be done to him ? shall I take 
off his head ? — and this old fellow here, they say, is naught 
with his wife ; for pity, canst thou not help him ? is there not a 
medicine ? " — And the old sire, " Do not listen to these young 
fools." So they said, " This Zeyd is good for nothing, why do 
you live with him ? and Hirfa, is she good to you ? she pours you 
out leban ; and she is beautiful, mez'una ? " Hirfa herself, were 
there no strangers, would come in at such times to sit 
down and jest her part with us : she was a sheykha, and Zeyd, 
a manly jaded man, was of this liberality more than is often seen, 
among Beduins. Sometimes for pastime they would ask for 
words of my Nasrany language, and as they had them presently 
by heart, they called loud for Hirfa, in plain English, " Girl, 
bring milk ! — by thy life, Hirfa, this evening we have learned 
Enghreys." Hirfa : " And tittun, what is it in the tongue of 
Khalil ? " — " Tobacco." — " Then give me some of this good word 
in my galliun, fill for me, Khalil ! " — Another day, a tribesman 
arriving sat down by Hirfa, in her side of the booth ; and 
seeing the stranger, " Tell me, he said, is not Hirfa mez'una ? 
oh, that she were mine ! " and the fellow discovered his mind 
with knavish gestures. Hirfa, seeing herself courted, (though 
he was not a sheykh,) sat still and smiled demurely ; and Zeyd, 
who could well play the shrew in other men's wedlock, sitting 
by himself, looked manly on and smiling. 

Zeyd might balance in his mind to be some day quit of Hirfa, 
for what a cumber to man's heart is an irksome woman ! — As we 
sat, few together, about another evening fire, said Zeyd, " Wellah, 
Khalil, I and thou are brethren. In proof of this, I ask thee, hast 



"IT IS NOT GOOD FOB MAN TO BE ALONE." 321 

thou any mind to be wedded amongst us ? See, I have two 
wives, and, billah, I will give thee to choose between them ; say 
which hast thou rather, and I will leave her and she shall become 
thy wife. Here is thy hostess Hirfa ; the other is the Bishria, 
and I think thou hast seen her yonder." — Perhaps he would have 
given me Hirfa, to take her again (amended) at my departure 
and in the meanwhile not to miss her camels ; for it seemed he 
had married the orphan's camels. To this gentle proffer I 
answered, ' Would they needs marry me, then be it not with 
other men's wives, which were contrary to our belief, but give 
me my pretty Rakhyeh : ' this was Zeyd's sister's child, that 
came daily playing to our booth with her infant brothers. 
" Hearest thou, Hirfa? answered Zeyd ; I gave thee now to Khalil, 
but he has preferred a child before thee." And Hirfa a little 
discontented : " Well, be it so, and I make no account of Khalil's 
opinions." — The great-eyed Bishr wife, meeting me some day 
after in the camp, proffered, betwixt earnest and game, with- 
out my asking, to take me for her husband, ' as ever her husband 
would divorce her : but I must buy some small cattle, a worsted 
booth, and camels ; we should live then (she thought) in happy 
accord, as the Nasranies put not away their wives.' Some- 
times in the coffee tents a father proffered his child, com- 
mending her beauty, and took witness of all that sat there ; 
young men said they gave me their sisters : and this was 
because Zeyd had formerly given out that Khalil, coming 
to live with him, would ride in the ghrazzus and be a 
wedded man. — For all their jealousy is between themselves ; 
there had no man not been contented with the Nasrany 
parentage, since better in their belief is the Christian blood ; 
and the white skin betokens in their eyes an ingenuous 
lineage, more than their own. Human spirits of an high 
fantasy, they imagine themselves discoloured and full of ailing ; 
this is their melancholy. I have known Beduin women that 
disdained, as they said, to wed with a Beduwy ; and oasis women 
who disdained to wed among their villagers. They might think 
it an advancement, if it fell to them to be matched with some 
man from the settled countries. Beduin daughters are easily 
given in marriage to the kella keepers. 

Only young hinds, abiding in the master's booth, and lads 
under age, can worthily remain unmarried. A lonely man, in 
the desert tribes, were a wretch indeed, without tent, since the 
household service is wholly of the hareem : and among so many 
forsaken women, and widows, there is no man so poor who may 
not find a make to ' build ' with him, to load, to grind, to fetch 
water and wood : he shall but kill a sheep (or a goat, if he be of 
d. t. 21 



322 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

so little substance,) for the marriage supper. Incredible it seems 
to the hareem, that any man should choose to dwell alone, when 
the benefit of marriage lies so unequally upon his part. Gentle 
Beduin women timidly ask the stranger, of very woman- 
hood, " And hast thou not hareem that weep for thee in thy 
land ? " — When the man's help is gone from their indigent 
house of marriage, they are left widows indeed. It is a common 
smiling talk to say to the passenger guest, and the stranger in 
their tents, nejowwazak bint, " We will give thee a maiden to 
wife, and dwell thou among us." I have said, " What should she 
do in my country ? can she forget her language and her people 
leading their lives in this wilderness ? " And they have answered, 
" Here is but famine and thirst and nakedness, and yours is a 
good beled ; a wife would follow, and also serve thee by the way, 
this were better for thee : the lonely man is sorrowful, and she 
would learn your tongue, as thou hast learned Araby" But some 
murmured, " It is rather a malice of the Nasara, Khalil will none, 
lest the religion of Islam should grow thereby." Others guessed 
' It were meritorious to give me a wife, to this end, that true 
worshippers might arise among them, of him who knew not 
Ullah.' Also this I have heard, " Wed thou, and leave us a 
white bint, that she may in time be for some great sheykh's 
wife." Large is the nomad housewives' liberty. The few good 
women, sorted with worthy men, to whom they have borne sons, 
are seen of comely, and hardly less than matronly carriage. 
In hareem of small worth, fallen from marriage to marriage, 
from one concubinage to another, and always lower, is often 
found the license of the nomad tongue, with the shameless words 
and gestures of abandoned women. The depraved in both sexes 
are called by the tribesmen affun, putrid or rotten persons. The 
maidens in the nomad booths are of a virginal circumspect 
verecundity, wards of their fathers and brethren, and in tutelage 
of an austere public opinion. When daughters of some lone 
tents must go herding, as the Midianite daughters of Jethro, 
we have seen, they may drive their flocks into the wilderness 
and fear no evil ; there is not a young tribesman (vile though 
many of them be, — but never impious,) who will do her op- 
pression. It were in all their eyes harram, breach of the 
desert faith and the religion of Islam ; the guilty would be 
henceforth unworthy to sit amongst men, in the booths of the 
Aarab. 

Now longwhile our black booths had been built upon the 
sandy stretches, lying before the swelling white Nefud side : the 
lofty coast of Irnan in front, whose cragged breaches, where is 



SUMMER DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS. 323 

any footing for small herbs nourished of this barren atmosphere, 
are the harbour of wild goats, which never drink. The summer's 
night at end, the sun stands up as a crown of hostile flames 
from that huge covert of inhospitable sandstone bergs ; the 
desert day dawns not little and little, but it is noontide in an 
hour. The sun, entering as a tyrant upon the waste landscape, 
darts upon us a torment of fiery beams, not to be remitted till 
the far-off evening. — No matins here of birds ; not a rock 
partridge-cock, calling with blithesome chuckle over the ex- 
treme waterless desolation. Grave is that giddy heat upon 
the crown of the head ; the ears tingle with a flickering shrill- 
ness, a subtle crepitation it seems, in the glassiness of this 
sun-stricken nature : the hot sand-blink is in the eyes, and there 
is little refreshment to find in the tents' shelter ; the worsted 
booths leak to this fiery rain of sunny light. Mountains loom- 
ing like dry bones through the thin air, stand far around about 
us : the savage flank of Ybba Moghrair, the high spire and 
ruinous stacks of el-Jebal, Chebad, the coast of Helwan ! 
Herds of the weak nomad camels waver dispersedly, seeking 
pasture in the midst of this hollow fainting country, where 
but lately the swarming locusts have fretted every green thing. 
This silent air burning about us, we endure breathless till the 
assr : when the dazing Arabs in the tents revive after their 
heavy hours. The lingering day draws down to the sun-setting ; 
the herdsmen, weary of the sun, come again with the cattle, 
to taste in their menzils the first sweetness of mirth and repose. 
— The day is done, and there rises the nightly freshness of this 
purest mountain air : and then to the cheerful song and the cup 
at the common fire. The moon rises ruddy from that solemn 
obscurity of jebel like a mighty beacon : — and the morrow will 
be as this day, days deadly drowned in the sun of the summer 
wilderness. 

The rugged country eastward, where we came in another 
remove, was little known to our Beduins ; only an elder gener- 
ation had wandered there : and yet they found even the lesser 
waters. We journeyed forth in high plains, (the altitude always 
nearly 4000 feet,) and in passages, stretching betwixt mountain 
cliffs of sandstone, cumbered with infinite ruins of fallen crags, 
in whose eternal shadows we built the booths of a day. One of 
these quarters of rock had not tumbled perhaps in a human 
generation ; but they mark years of the sun, as the sand, a little 
thing in the lifetime of the planet ! 

The short spring season is the only refreshment of the 
desert year. Beasts and men swim upon this prosperous tide ; 
the cattle have their fill of sweet pasture, butter-milk is in the 

21—2 



324 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA, 

booths of the Aarab ; but there was little or none in Zeyd's 
tent. The kids and lambs stand all tied, each little neck in a 
noose, upon a ground line which is stretched in the nomad 
booth. At day-break the bleating younglings are put under the 
dams, and each mother receives her own, (it is by the scent) — she 
will put by every other. When the flock is led forth to pasture, 
the little ones are still bound at home ; for following the dams, 
they would drink dry the dugs, and leave no food for the Arabs. 
The worsted tent is full all day of small hungry bleatings, until 
the ghrannem come home at evening, when they are loosed 
again, and run to drink, butting under the mother's teats, with 
their wiggle tails ; and in these spring weeks, there is little rest 
for their feeble cries, all night in the booths of the Aarab : the 
housewives draw what remains of the sweet milk after them. 
The B. Wahab tribes of these open highlands, are camel- 
Beduins ; the small cattle are few among them : they have new 
spring milk when their hinds have calved. The yeaning camel- 
cow, lying upon her side, is delivered without voice, the fallen 
calf is big as a grown man : the herdsman stretches out its 
legs, with all his might ; and draws the calf, as dead, before the 
dam. She smells to her young, rises and stands upon her feet 
to lick it over. With a great clap of the man's palm upon 
that horny sole, zora, (which, like a pillar, Nature has set 
under the camel's breast, to bear up the huge neck,) the calf 
revives : at three hours end, yet feeble and tottering, and after 
many falls, it is able to stand reaching up the long neck and 
feeling for the mother's teat. The next morrow this new 
born camel will follow to the field with the dam. The cow 
may be milked immediately, but that which is drawn from her. 
for a day or two, is purgative. The first voice of the calf is a 
sheep-like complaint, bdh-bdh, loud and well sounding. The 
fleece is silken soft, the head round and high ; and this with a 
short body, borne arch-wise, and a leaping gait upon so long legs, 
makes that, a little closing the eyes, you might take them for 
fledglings of some colossal bird. Till twelve months be out they 
follow the teat ; but when a few weeks old they begin, already, 
to crop for themselves the tops of the desert bushes : and their 
necks being not yet of proportionate reach, it is only betwixt 
the straddled fore legs, that they can feed at the ground. One 
evening, as I stroked the soft woolly chines of the new-born 
camels, " Khalil ! said the hind (coming with a hostile face), see 
thou do no more so, — they will be hide-bound and not grow well ; 
thou knowest not this ! " He thought the stranger was about some 
maleficence ; but Zeyd, whose spirit was far from all superstition 
with an easy smile appeased him, and they were his own camels. 



THE KINDS OF MILK. 



325 



The camel calf at the birth is worth a real, and every 
month rises as much in value. In some " weak " households the 
veal is slaughtered, where they must drink themselves all their 
camel milk. The bereaved dam wanders, lowing softly, and 
smelling for her calf ; and as she mourns, you shall see her 
deer-like pupils, say the Arabs, ' standing full of tears.' Other 
ten days, and her brutish distress is gone over to forgetfulness ; 
she will feed again full at the pasture, and yield her foster milk 
to the Aarab. Then three good pints may be drawn from her 
at morning, and as much to their supper : the udder of these 
huge frugal animals is not greater than I have seen the 
dugs of Malta goats. A milch cow with the calf is milked 
only at evening. Her udder has four teats, which the southern 
nomads divide thus : two they tie up with a worsted twine 
and wooden pegs, for themselves, the other they leave to the 
suckling. The Aarab of the north make their camel udders sure, 
with a worsted bag-netting. Upon a journey, or when she is 
thirsting, the naga's milk is lessened to the half. All their nagas 
give not milk alike. Whilst the spring milk is in, the nomads 
nourish themselves of little else. In poorer households it is all 
their victual those two months. The Beduins drink no whole- 
milk, save that of their camels ; of their small cattle they drink 
but the butter-milk. The hareem make butter, busily rocking 
the (blown) sour milk-skin upon their knees. In the plenteous 
northern wilderness the semily is greater ; and is hanged to be 
rocked in the fork of a robust bearing-stake of the nomad tent. 
As for this milk-diet, I find it, by proof in the Beduin life, to be 
the best of human food. But in every nomad menzil, there are 
some stomachs, which may never well bear it ; and strong men 
using this sliding drink-meat feel always an hungry disease in 
their bodies ; though they seem in never so good plight. The 
Beduins speak thus of the several kinds of milk : " Goat milk is 
sweet, it fattens more than strengthens the body ; ewe's milk 
very sweet, and fattest of all, it is unwholesome to drink whole : " 
so they say, "it kills people," that is, with the colic. In spite 
of their saws, I have many times drunk it warm from the 
dug, with great comfort of languishing fatigue. It is very rich 
in the best samn : ewe butter-milk " should be let sour some- 
while in the semily, with other milk, till all be tempered 
together, and then it is fit to drink." Camel milk is they think 
the best of all sustenance, and that most, (as lightly purgative,) 
of the bukkra, or young naga with her first calf, and the most 
sober of them add with a Beduish simplicity, " who drinks and 
has a jara he would not abide an hour." The goat and naga 
milk savour of the plants where the cattle are pastured ; in 



326 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

some cankered grounds I have found it as worm word. One of 
those Allay da sheykhs called to me in the rahla, " Hast thou 
not some Damascus kaak (biscuit cakes) to give me to eat ? 
wellah, it is six weeks since I have chewed anything with the 
teeth ; all our food is now this flood of milk. Seest thou not 
what is the Beduins' life ; they are like game scattered in all 
the wilderness." Another craved of me a handful of dates; 
" with this milk, only, he felt such a creeping hunger within 
him." Of any dividing food with them the Beduins keep a 
kindly remembrance ; and when they have aught will call thee 
heartily again. 

The milk-dieted Aarab are glad to take any mouthful of 
small game. Besides the desert hare which is often startled 
in the rahlas, before other is the thob ; which they call here 
pleasantly ' Master Hamed, shej^kh of wild beasts,' and say he 
is human, zillamy, — this is their elvish smiling and playing — 
and in proof they hold up his little five-fingered hands. They 
eat not his palms, nor the seven latter thorny rings of sheykh 
Hamed's long tail, which, say they, is ' man's flesh.' His pasture 
is most of the sweet-smelling Nejd bush, el-arrafej. Sprawl- 
ing wide and flat is the body, ending in a training tail of 
even length, where I have counted twenty-three rings. The 
colour is blackish and green-speckled, above the pale yellowish 
and dull belly : of his skin the nomads make small herdmen's 
milk-bottles. The manikin saurian, with the robust hands, 
digs his burrow under the hard gravel soil, wherein he lies 
all the winter, dreaming. The thob-catcher, finding the hole, 
and putting in his long reed armed with an iron hook, draws 
Hamed forth. His throat cut, they fling the carcase, whole, 
upon the coals ; and thus baked they think it a delicate roast. 
His capital enemy among beasts, " which undermines and de- 
vours him, is, they say, the thurban" I know not whether a living 
or fabulous animal. The jerboa, or spring rat, is a small white 
aery creature in the wide waterless deserts, of a pitiful beauty. 
These lesser desert creatures lie underground in the daylight, 
they never drink. The hedgehog, which they call kunjuth, 
and abu shauk, ' father prickles,' is eaten in these parts by Fejir 
tribesmen, but by their neighbours disdained, although they be 
one stock with them of Annezy. Selim brought in an urchin 
which he had knocked on the head, he roasted Prickles in 
the coals and rent and distributed the morsels, to every one his 
part. That which fell to me I put away bye and bye to 
the starveling greyhound ; but the dog smelling to the meat 
rejected it. When another day I told this tale in the next 
tribes, they laughed maliciously, that the Fukara should eat 



THE UNICORN FOUND. 



327 



that which the hounds would not of. 
The porcupine is eaten by all the 
nomads, and the wabbar. I have seen 
this thick-bodied beast as much as an 
heavy hare, and resembling the great 
Alpine rat ; they go by pairs, or four, 
six, eight, ten, together. The wabbar 
is found under the border of the sand- 
stone mountains, where tender herbs 
nourish him, and the gum-acacia leaves, 
upon which tree he climbs nimbly, 
holding with his pad feet without 
claws ; the fore-paws have four toes, 
the hind-paws three : the flesh is fat 
and sweet : they are not seen to sit 
upon the hind quarters ; the pelt is grey, 
and like the bear's coat. 

Rarely do any nomad gunners kill 
the wolf, but if any fall to their shot he 
is eaten by the Beduins, (the wolf was 
eaten in mediaeval Europe). TheAarab 
think the flesh medicinal, " very good 
they say for aches in the shins," which 
are so common with them that go bare- 
legs and bare-footed in all the seasons. 
Zeyd had eaten the wolf, but he 
allowed it to be of dog's kind, " Eigh, 
billah (he answered me), the wolf's 
mother, that is the hound's aunt." 
The fox, hosseny, is often taken by 
their greyhounds, and eaten by the 
Fejir ; the flesh is " sweet, and next 
to the hare." They will even eat the 
foul hyena when they may take her, 
and say, " she is good meat." Of great 
desert game, but seldom slain by the 
shot of these pastoral and tent-dwelling 
people, is the bedan of the mountains 
(the wild goat of Scripture, pi. bedun ; 
with the Kahtan waul, as in Syria). 
The massy horns grow to a palm- 
breadth, I have seen them two and a 
half feet long ; they grow stretching 
back upon the chine to the haunch. 
The beast at need, as all hunters re- 



3 » 2 

0) o 



03 



•S * 



328 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

late, will cast himself down headlong upon them backwards : 
he is nigh of kin to the stone-buck of the European Alps. 

The gazelle, ghrazel, pi. ghrazldn, is of the plains ; the Arabians 
say more often thobby (the N. T. Tabitha). They are white in the 
great sand-plains, and swart-grey upon the black Harra ; these are 
the roes of the scriptures. There is yet a noble wild creature of 
the Arabian deserts, which was hitherto unknown among us, the 
wothyhi, or "wild cow" above mentioned (p. 59). I saw later 
the male and female living at Hayil ; it is an antelope, Beatrix, 
akin to the beautiful animals of Africa. It seems that this 
is not the "wild ox " of Moses : but is not this the (Hebr.) reem, 
the " unicorn " of the Septuagint translators ? — Her horns are 
such slender rods as from our childhood we have seen pictured 
" the horns of the unicorns." (See p. 327.) We read in Balaam's 
parable, " El brought them out of Egypt ; He hath as it were the 
strength of a reem : " and in Moses' blessing of the tribes, " Joseph's 
horns are the two horns of reems." In Job especially, are shown 
the headstrong conditions of this velox wild creature. " Will the 
reem be willing to serve thee — canst thou bind the reem in thy 
furrow ? " The wounded wothyhi is perilous to be approached ; 
this antelope, with a cast of her sharp horns, may strike through 
a man's body ; hunters await therefore the last moments to run 
in and cut their quarry's throat. It was a monkish darkness in 
natural knowledge to ascribe a single horn to a double forehead ! 
— and we sin not less by addition, putting wings to the pagan 
images of gods and angels ; so they should have two pairs of 
fore-limbs ! The wothyhi falls only to the keenest hunters : the 
wothyhies accompany in the waterless desert by troops of three 
and five together. 

Of vermin, there are many snakes and adders ; none of them 
eaten by these tribes of nomads. Jeldmy is that small brown 
lizard of the wilderness which starts from every footstep. 
Scorpions lurk under the cool stones ; I have found them in 
my tent, upon my clothing, but never had any hurt. I have 
seen many grown persons and children bitten, but the sting 
is not perilous ; some wise man is called to " read" over them. 
The wounded part throbs with numbness and aching till the 
third day, there is not much swelling. Many are the cities, 
under this desert sand, of seed-gathering ants ; I have measured 
some watling-street of theirs, eighty-five paces : to speed once 
this length and come again, loaded as camels, is these small busy 
bodies' summer day's journey. 

Besides, of the great predatory wild animals, most common is 
the thubba, hyena ; then the nimmr, a leopard, brindled black 
and brown and spotted : little common is the fdhd, a wild cat 



WILD CREATURES OF THE DESERT. 329 

no bigger than the fox ; he is red and brown brindled, and 
spotted. In these Beduins' memory a young fahd was bred 
up amongst Bishr, which (they are wonderfully swift footed) 
had been used by his nomad master to take gazelles. In all 
the Arabic countries there is a strange superstition of parents, 
(and this as well among the Christian sects of Syria,) that if 
any child seem to be sickly, of infirm understanding, or his 
brethren have died before, they will put upon him a wild beast's 
name, (especially, wolf, leopard, wolverine,) — that their human 
fragility may take on as it were a temper of the kind of 
those animals. Hawks and buzzards are often seen wheeling 
in the desert sky, and el-dgab, which is a small black eagle, 
and er-rdkham, the small white carrion eagle, — flying in the air 
they resemble sea-mews : I have not seen vultures, nor any 
greater eagle in the deserts (save in Sinai). These are the 
most of living creatures, and there are few besides in the wild- 
erness of Arabia. 



\ 



CHAPTEE XII. 



PEACE IN THE DESERT. 

Motlog arrives. The Biskr, of Annezy. The Ruwdlla and Jellas. A sheykh 
of Teyma. The Hadddj fallen. Ascribed to ' the eye.' Great ghrazzu of Bishr. 
Great counter -riding of the W. Aly. Their meeting in the Khdla. The young 
leaders tilt together. Pitiful submission of the W. Aly. Golden piety of the 
desert. Life for life. " Pillars " of locusts. Locust eating. They would all 
see the book of pictures. The Nomads' dogs. The greyhound. Human thieves 
called ' dogs.' The children's evening revels. The Arabian nomads use no manly 
games. Circumcision festival. The wilderness fainting in the sunny drought. 
Bobbers. Our camels stolen. How might these robbers be known ? The fortune 
of a Beduin tribe. The pursuit. Tribesmen's loss of stolen cattle made good out 
of the common contribution. The law in the desert, in the matter of cattle taken by 
the enemy. The ghrazzu the destruction of the Aarab. A murrain. Zeyd's for- 
tune. Return of the pursuit. The tribesmen's lack of public spirit. Motlog' 's return 
from Hdyil. Ibn Bashid's bounties. His taxes. The Fukara marching again 
to their home dxra. El-Erudda. Fugitive camels fled back 350 miles to their 
own country. A Moahib foray cuts out and saves a few of our camels from the 
returning robbers, which were of B. Sdkhr. Response of the B. Sdkhr. Con- 
tention with Zeyd. A Beduin mother. Zeyd reconciled. How Beduins may 
attack the Haj. Beduin hour. Zeyd would not have his son learn letters of a 
stranger. Many Arabic book and town words are unknown to the Nomads. Pur- 
chase of another camel. Years of the camel. 

Upon a morrow, when there was a great coffee-drinking at 
Zeyd's, one cries over his cup, bahhir ! " Look there ! — who come 
riding yonder ? " All shadowing with their hands, and fixing 
the eyes, it was answered, " Are they not tradesmen of Teyma, 
that ride to sell calico ; or some that would take up well camels ; 
or the sheukh perhaps, that ride to Hayil ? " The Beduw make 
no common proof that I can find of extraordinary vision. True 
it is, that as they sit the day long in the open tents, their sight is 
ever indolently wavering in the wide horizon before them, where 
any stirring or strangeness in the wonted aspect of the desert 
must suspend their wandering cogitation. But the Arabs also 
suffer more of eye diseases than any nation. It was not long 



MISSHEL "SHEYKH OF THE SEVEN TRIBES." 331 

before the weak-eyed Arabs discovered the comers, by their frank 
riding, to be Beduins ; but only a little before they alighted, the 
company knew them to be their own sheykh Motlog and his son, 
and a tribesman with them. Motlog had mounted very early 
from the other camp. Our company, of nigh fifty persons,""^ 
rose to welcome their chief sheykhs ; Motlog re-entered cor- 
dially amongst them, with a stately modesty ; and every man 
came forward in his place, to salute them, as kinsmen re- 
turning from an absence, with gowwak ya Motlog, ' The 
Lord strengthen thee.' Answer : Ullah gowwik, ' May He give 
thee strength : ' so, falling upon each other's necks, they kiss 
gravely together, upon this and upon the other cheek. Room 
now is made for them in the highest place, where they sit 
down, smiling easily ; and the Fukara sheukh, noblemen born, 
of somewhat an effeminate countenance, excel, as said, in _., 
specious and amiable mejlis manners : yet their Asiatic hearts J 
are full of corruption inwardly, and iniquity. Roasting anew 
and braying and boiling are taken in hand, to make them coffee ; 
and Zeyd, as an host, brings them forth a bowl of his musty 
dates to breakfast, (he would spend for none better at Teyma,) 
and another of butter-milk, and those in small measure ; — it was 
Hirfa and Zeyd's known illiberality, for which cause, there 
-alighted almost no guest at Zeyd's beyt in the round year. 
This is the goodly custom in the wilderness, that somewhat be 
served immediately, (however early it be,) to the guest alighting 
from his journey. The sheykhs consented to join our camps ] 
from the next rahla, and we should remove further into the- 
Bishr country. 

Bishr is a main partition of the Annezy nation, and certain \ 
of their great kindreds, as the W. Sleymdn in Nejd, might be 
compared with whole tribes. High sheykh of all the Nejd 
Bishr, is a warlike man of my later acquaintance, Misshel 
(called after his fendy) el-Audjy ; and entitled, Sheykh of the 
seven Kabail (tribes, Kabilies). Their kinships or fendies are, 
said Zeyd : 



W. Sleyman. 
Sweylmdt. 


Khumsha 
Sillimat. 


Jidfera. 

el-Aly. 

Gathowra. 


Hosenny. 

Sbd. 

Fedddn. 


S'goor. 
Shemldn. 


Ammardt 



Zeyd seemed to reckon the Ruwalla Annezy with Bishr. 
They inhabit by the Nefud, under Jauf, and westwards toward 
Syria ; they are Beduins of raw and simple manners. Their 



332 TBAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

kindreds are : Aarab Ibn Muzzeyed, el-HSsenny, el-MuselliMi, 
Incorporate of old with the Ruwalla, are the ancient Annezy 
Aarab, el-Jellas ; of whom a wady of Kheybar, their former posses- 
sion, long forsaken by them, is yet named. Their kindreds are : 

el-Nussir ; Noasera. Deraan. 

Shaldn. Unseir. 

Ribshan. Belais. 

Sualma B'dur. 

Ferujja. Aarab Ibn Mahjil sheykh el-Esshajir. 

Koatcheba Aarab Ibn Jindal sheykh es-Sualma 

Gaaja. Aarab Ibn Umjeyd sheykh Abdillah. 

Dogman. Kleyfdt. 

As our Aarab were pitched together again, there arrived a 
principal sheykh of Teyma, Abd el-Aziz er-Bomdn, riding round 
to the Aarab, to buy well camels. The price is two or three 
camel-loads of dates or a load of corn, aysh, for a good naga. 
He alighted at Motlog's, and I went down to the coffee meeting, 
to hear the country news. Motlog welcomed me graciously, and 
called, " Bring a shidad for Khalil." The Teyma sheykh was 
a well clad, comely, stirring man, in the favour of Ibn Rashid, 
collector of the prince's revenue in his oasis ; presumptuous, 
penetrating-malicious, and, " as all the Teyamena," in the 
opinion of the nomads, jdhil, of a certain broken-headed inepti- 
tude, and rusticity. In the nomad-like village, he had not 
learned letters : Motlog, among Beduins, was the friend of his 
youth. As we sat on, Abd el-Aziz, turning abruptly, demanded 
of me, ' What did I there in the wilderness, and wherefore had I 
banished myself from all world's good,' (that is, from the shadow 
by day, bread and dates sure, and water enough, and the stable 
dwelling). " I take the air." — " If this be all, thou mightest as 
good take the air upon yonder top of Irnan." His rafik en- 
quired in his ear, yet so that I heard it, " Is not this a 
Yahudy ? " — " Jew, there is no doubt (answered Abd el- Aziz), 
or what they tell me Nasrany, a difference in the names 
only." The other then, with a ghastly look, as if he beheld a 
limb of Sheytan, " Lord, for thy mercy ! and is this — akhs ! — a 
Yahudy ? Ullah confound all the kuffar." Abd el- Aziz, when I 
came again to Teyma, had put on a new courtesy, since he heard 
the stranger had publicly pronounced him, " Ignorant ass, and 
sheykh of all the Yahud of Teyma : " for the Arabs, who covet 
to be praised, are tender as vain women of men's opinions. 
They brought tidings of a disaster at home, the Haddaj was 
fallen ! yet he looked merrily upon it, because his two or three 
draw-wheels and the side which belonged to his own suk, were 
yet standing ; the loss was not of his faction. 



THE H ADD A J FALLEN. 3 33 

The knavish Beduins heard unmoved of the mischance of 
the Teyamena; those merchants of dates and corn, that be- 
guile, they think, their uncunning with false measures. Of 
some who came later from the oasis, we heard that the towns- 
people and fanatics laid all to the charge of the Nasrany. 
4 The Haddaj fell only few days after my being there, I had over- 
thrown it with mine eye ; ' but the graver sort said, ' it was not 
fallen but by the permission of Ullah.' I asked a plain worthy 
man of the town, "How could I have cast down your well?" 
And he: " Khalil, I believe not it was thy doing; (he added 
darkly,) I think rather it was of Ibn Bashid ! " The prince 
and his riders (perhaps three hundred men), returning from 
the raid upon W. Aly, had encamped without Teyma walls a 
day or twain. He added, " The multitude of them was as the 
sand, ouff ! " — "Was it the tread of their waterers about the 
Haddaj ? " — " Not this, but el-dyn, the eye ! " The evil eye 
is part of the Semitic superstition. The darling of the body is 
the eye, the window of the soul, and they imagine her malign in- 
fluence to stream forth thereat. Fanatical nomads, from that 
day, looked upon me as a yet more perilous ' God's adversary.' 

One of these evenings there rode into our encampment a 
main ghrazzu, eighty men of Bishr, that had mounted to go set 
upon their foemen W. Aly ; they passed this night as guests of 
the Fukara, in their own dira. They were friendly entertained, 
and heard after their suppers the latest advice of the W. Aly's 
being pitched about the wells Mogeyra ; about eighty miles 
from hence, at the haj road, a journey below el-Hejr. I enquired 
of Zeyd, Would they not send this night to warn their cousins 
of the sister tribe ? Answer : " Ha, no ! but let them all be 
taken, for us." Months later, being with some W. Aly tribes- 
men I heard them censure this treacherous malice of the 
Fukara ; and yet being full of the like themselves, which in 
truth is the natural condition of Beduins. Of the Annezy 
nation, unto which all these tribes belong, and that is greatest 
of all ashirats in the Peninsula, it is spoken in proverb, " God 
increased Annezy, and He has appointed divisions among them : " 
there is no time when some of the kindreds are not gom, or 
robber enemies, of some other. The Annezy have been com- 
pared with B. Israel ; they are not without resemblance. 
The seat of this people, in the first Mohammedan ages, was, 
according to their tradition, the dira lying a little north of 
Medina, which is now of the W. Aly. Then they conquered 
Kheybar, whose feverish palm valleys became their patrimony 
to this day. 



334 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

It happened strangely that whilst Bishr was out against 
them a main ghrazzu of the Welad Aly had mounted to go> 
and set upon Bishr. These hostile squadrons by a new adven- 
ture met with each other in the wilderness. An hundred 
thelul riders cover the ground of a regiment. It is a brave 
sight, as they come on with a song, bowing in the tall saddles, 
upon the necks of their gaunt stalking beasts, with a martial 
shining of arms. The foemen in sight, the sheukh descend 
with the long lances upon their led horses ; and every sheykh's 
back-rider, radif, who is also his gun-bearer, now rides in the 
thelul saddle. Those thelul riders, upon the slower sheep- 
like beasts, are in comparison of their few light horsemen, 
like a kind of heavy infantry of matchlock men. The nomad 
cavalier, sitting loosely upon a pad without stirrups, can carry 
no long and heavy firearm, which he could not reload. Only 
few amongst these southern sheykhs are possessors of some old 
flint horse-pistols, which abandoned in our grandsires' time, have 
been sold away from Europe. Their hope is in the romhh or 
shelfa, the Beduin lance : the beam, made of a light reed of the 
rivers of Mesopotamia, is nearly two of their short horse-lengths ; 
they charge them above their heads. Agid or conductor of the 
W. Aly part, was a beardless and raw young man, Fdhd, their 
great sheykh's son ; and Askar of the other, son of Misshel, the 
great sheykh above mentioned : these young hostile Annezy 
leaders were sisters' sons. Fahd, tilting impetuously, pierced 
his cousin Askar ; but, overborne by strong men's hands, he 
was himself taken alive. The W. Aly, glorious and con- 
fident in the tents, were seized with panic terror in the field r 
in presence of the warlike Auajy, the most big of bone and 
resolute of that country Beduins ; in each of whom they 
looked for an avenger of the blood slain before Kheybar. They 
cried out therefore that they were brethren ! and those W. Aly. 
which were one hundred and twenty riders with arms in their 
hands, submitted to the eighty lion-like men of Bishr ; every 
one pitifully intreating his spoiler, " akhyey, ya akhyey, atu 
little brother mine ! take thou then my thelul, have here my 
arms, and even my mantle ; take all, only let me go alive."" 
No more than a few sheykhs of them, who were horsemen, 
escaped that day upon their mares. Yet of the thelul riders 
there broke away three hardy men, mountaineers ; they were 
Moahib, that had ridden with them in hope to divide the spoils 
of the common enemy. — Before the year was out, the Moahib 
by the same Bishr were miserably bereaved, in one day, of all 
their cattle. The sheykhs upon all sides were, at some time, of 
my acquaintance ; and I had this tale among them. 



A GHRAZZU TAKEN BY A GHRAZZU. 



335 



The Bishr received their dakhils to quarter ; they would not, 
only remembering the vengeance, make a butchery of their kins- 
men ; and, as the southern Aarab use not to take human lives 
to ransom, they let their enemies go, in their shirts, to ride 
home to their wives, upon their bare feet. It is contrary 
to the Arabian conscience to extinguish a kabila. There 
are tribes of neighbours, cruel gomanies since their grand - 
dames' days, as the Fejir and B. Atieh, that have never met 
in general battles, when, in a day, they might void so long 
controversies, by the destruction of one of them. Even the 
Beduins' old cruel rancours are often less than the golden 
piety of the wilderness. The danger past, they can think of 
the defeated foemen with kindness ; having compassion of an 
Arab lineage of common ancestry with themselves. When 
men fall down wounded in a foray the enemies which had 
the upper hand will often send again far back, and bear them 
to their menzil : and there they nourish their languishing foe- 
men, until they be whole again ; when they give to each a 
water-skin and say to him ruhh, " depart," without taking 
promises, putting only their trust in Ullah to obtain the like at 
need for themselves. But Fahd was led away with the Bishr, since 
he must answer for the life of Askar : if his cousin died he must 
die for his death, unless the next of kin should consent to receive 
the blood ransom ; he would be entertained in the meanwhile 
in his hostile kinsmen's tents. Askar recovered slowly, in the 
next months. I asked, " When those shearers of W. Aly came 
home shorn, with what dances and lullilooing will the hareem 
sally forth to meet them ! " It was answered, "Ay billah, they 
had merited the women's derision ! " — " But how, being one 
hundred and twenty strong, had they submitted to the fewer 
in number ? " Answer : " Are they not W. Aly ? and this is 
the manner of them." They are unwarlike, but the Fejir, the 
sister tribe, were never contemned by their enemies, which are 
all those strong free tribes behind them, B. Atieh, Howeytat, 
Billi, Jeheyna. 

The clouds of the second locust brood which the Aarab call 
am'dan, ' pillars ' [it is the word we read in Exodus — the ammud 
of cloud and fire], wreathing and nickering as motes in the sun- 
beam, flew over us for some days, thick as rain, from near the 
soil to great height in the atmosphere. They alight as birds, 
letting down their long shanks to the ground ; these invaded the 
booths, and for blind hunger, even bit our shins, as we sat at 
coffee. They are borne feebly flying at the wind's list, as in 
the Psalms, " I am tossed up and down as the locust." There 
fell of them every moment upon the earth, and were dashed 



336 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

upon the stones. After this we saw them drifted to the south- 
ward : and the Aarab, knowing they must now devour Kheybar, 
where their dates would be lost, came forth, and stood to gaze after 
them with a fatal indifference ; and with aha ! they went in to sit 
down again, leaving their lot in the hands of Ullah, who they 
say is Bountiful. And oftener than no, the Arabs will smile in 
such mishaps, over their own broken hopes, with a kind of godly 
melancholy. The children bring in gathered locusts, broached 
upon a twig, and the nomads toast them on the coals ; then 
plucking the scorched members, they break away the head, 
and the insect body which remains is good meat ; but not of 
these latter swarms, born in time of the dried-up herbage. A 
young man at our fire breaking the toasted body of the first, 
there fell out a worm, and he cast it from him with loathing ; and 
cried, ' akhs ! Wellah this cured him of all locust eating.' Yet 
women went out to gather them ; they were of some poor house- 
holds. The coffee-drinkers asked of me, " Eat you the locusts 
in your beled, Khalil ; tell us, be they wholesome ? " (We read 
in Leviticus that the children of Jacob might eat the kinds of 
locust.) Nearly every seventh year, in the Arabians' opinion, is 
a season of locusts. — This year was remembered for the locust 
swarms and for the great summer heat. The male insect is 
yellow, spotted brown, the female somewhat greater and of 
a leaden colour. The pair of glassy wings are spotted, the 
inner pair are wide and folded under. Her length to the end 
of the closed wing is nearly three inches. The Beduins say, 
" This is not the eye which appears such, in the head, but that 
clear spot under the short first legs." I took a pen and made the 
outline of a locust, and upon the next leaf was another of Abu 
Zeyd: all the Arabs came to see these two pictures. "Very 
well, Khalil," said the simple gazers, " and ha ! his image wellah, 
without any difference ! " And one smutched the lines of the 
locust with his fingers, seldom washed, to know if this lay even 
upon the smooth paper, and yeteyr quoth he "it will rise and 
fly ! " And ever as there came coffee-bibbers to Zeyd's menzil, 
they asked for Khalil, and " Let him show us Abu Zeyd and 
his book of pictures;" these were a few prints in my book 
of medicine. Then they wondered to look through my tele- 
scope, in which, levelling at any camel a mile distant, they 
saw her as it were pasturing before their faces. Nevertheless, 
as a thing which passed their minds, they did not learn to covet 
it ; and yet to sharpen their vision the best sighted of them, 
seeing as falcons, would needs essay all my eye-washes; for 
there is no endowment of nature so profitable to them in this 
life of the open wilderness. 



lit i 
tat / 



THE HOUNDS OF THE NOMAD MENZILS. 337 

Only the starveling hounds of the menzils, in these days, j 
greedily swallowing up locusts, seemed to be in better plight, 
running gaily in the encampment, sleeping with their fills, 
and now sullenly careless of the Aarab. Their hounds, say the 
nomads, " bite the wolf : " they waken all night whilst the Aarab 
slumber. With the Fejir, Beduins of a " camel dira," the " wolf- | 
eaters " are not many, and those of currish kind, nearly like the J 
street dogs of Syria. The best I have seen with any Aarab, 
were the great shagged dogs of Billi, in the Tehama. The 
common nomad hound is yellowish, shaped as the fox ; the ""] 
like is seen over most wild parts of the world. A few Beduins 
have their greyhounds, light with hunger, and very swift to 
course the hare ; and by these the gazelle fawn is taken. The 
common barkers of every Beduin village (for they go not 
out with the flocks), in tribes where the house-mothers have \ 
little or no milk to give them, are carrion lean, and in hunger- \ 
times they receive no sustenance of man's hand but a little 
water : it were hard to say of what uncleanness they then live. 
Only for a few days once in the long year they are well refreshed : 
these are in the date-gathering at Kheybar, when the fruit 
abounding in the Beduins' not improvident hands (above that 
they may carry,) they give to the camels and asses their fill 
dates, and fling also to their wretched hounds largely. 

The hounds for their jealous service have never a good word. 
It is the only life mishandled at home by the gentle Aarab, who 
with spurns and blows cast out these profane creatures from the 
beyt, and never touch them (unless it be the unweaned whelps) 
with their hands. If any dog be an house-thief, a robber of 
human food, he is chased with hue and cry, and will be most 
cruelly beaten ; the men swear great oaths ' he shall be dead, 
he has it well deserved.' This makes that the parasite crea- 
ture, in these countries, is of more diffident behaviour, to- 
wards his masters : only to the nomad greyhound is granted >~\ 
as of noble kind, to lie down in the booth. The hounds watch ^ 
all day in the menzil, every one by his household, ahlahu. 
They follow in the rahla with the baggage-train and their | 
mistress ; pacing, with a half reasonable gait, in the shadows J 
of the lofty moving camels : impatient of heat and the sand 
burning under their paws, where they spy any shelter of crag 
or bush, there they will go in to pant awhile. At the alighting, 
the booth-cloth is hardly raised, when (if suffered — this is in 
the sheep-keeper tribes) they creep into the shadow and scrabble 
the hot sand, and dig with their paws under them, to make 
their lair upon the cool soil beneath. A dog strayed at the 
menzil, and running by strange tents, is hooted — ahl-ak, ahl-ak ! 
d. t. 22 



338 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

* to thy household, sirra ! ' The loud nomad dogs, worrying about 
the heels of all strange comers, are a sort of police of the nomad 
encampment. A few of them are perilous snatchers with their 
teeth ; a man may come by, skirmishing with his camel-stick 
behind him, and the people call off their dogs. But if there be 
only hareem at home, which do but look on with a feminine 
malice, a stranger must beat them off with stone-casts. Some 
woman may then cry, " Oh ! oh ! wherefore dost thou stone our 
dog? " And he, " The accursed would have eaten me." — " But, 
thou ! cast not at him." — " Then call him in thou foolish woman 
and that quickly, or with this block now, I may happen to kill 
him." — " Eigh me ! do not so, this eats the wolf, he watches for the. 
enemy, he is the guard of our beyt and the ghrannem ; I pray 
thee, no, not another stone." — " Mad woman, before he eat me I 
will break all the bones in his skin, and cursed be thy tongue ! 
with less breath thou canst call him off ! ' ' In such case, I have not 

^ spared for stones, and the silly wife thought herself wronged ; but 
the men answered, " It was well enough." The hareem, as to whom 
little is attributed, are naturally of innrmer reason, and liker 
children in the sentiment of honour ; so there are tents, where the 
passing guest may not greatly trust them, nor their children. 

The sharp-set nomad hounds fall upon aught they may 
find abroad, as the baggage (when sometimes it is left with- 
out the booth) of any stranger guest : then they rend up all 
with their eager teeth and sharp claws ; therefore to carry 
in the guests' bags is accounted a charitable deed. Men who 
are pilferers of others' provision, are often called " hounds " 
by the Beduins. Hirfa called one of these mornings at my 
tent door, "Where art thou, Khalil? I go abroad, and wilt 

^ thou the while mind my household?" — "And whither will my 
hostess to-day ? " — " I go to buy us yarn : Khalil, open the eyes 
and beware, that there come no dogs to my beyt." When she 
returned some hours after, Hirfa came to chide me, " Ha ! care- 
less Khalil, the dogs have been here ! why hast thou not kept 
my beyt ? and did I not bid thee ? " — " I have watched for thee, 
Hirfa, every moment, by thy life ! sitting before the booth in the 
:sun, and not a hair of any dog has entered." — " Alas, Khalil 
-does not understand that ' the dogs ' are men ; tell me, Khalil, 
who has been here whilst I was out ? " — " There came two men, 
&nd when I saw them sheltering in thy apartment, I guessed 
them to be of kindred and acquaintance ; could I suppose there 
would any tribesman steal from a tribesman's beyt ? " — " But 
these have stolen, said she, a peck of dates, and all by thy 
fault." In the popular sort of nomads is little or no conscience 
to rob food (only) ; they holding it as common, kheyr Ullah. 



NOMAD CHILDREN PLAYING AT HORSES. 339 

The cheerful summer nights are cool from the sunset | 
in these dry uplands. As they have supped, men wander 
forth to talk with neighbours, coffee drinkers seek the even- 
ing cup : in the mejlis coffee company, the Aarab gossip till 
midnight. Often in our menzil only the herdsman remains 
at home, who wakens to his rough song the grave chord of the 
rabeyby. 

Some moonlight evenings the children hied by us : boys and 
girls troop together from the mothers' beyts, and over the sand 
they leap to play at horses, till they find where they may climb 
upon some sand-hillock or rock. A chorus of the elder girls 
assemble hither, that with hand-clapping chant the same and 
eyer the same refrain, of a single verse. Little wild boys 
stripping off their tunics, and flinging down kerchiefs, or that 
have left all in the mothers' beyts, run out naked ; there being 
only the haggu wound about their slender loins : this is the 
plaited leathern ribbon, which is worn, and never left, by all 
the right Arabians, both men and hareem. Every boy-horse 
has chosen a make, his fdras or mare ; they course hand in 
hand together, and away, away, every pair skipping after other 
and are held themselves in chase in the moonlight wilderness. 
He kicks back to the horses which chevy after them so fast, and 
escapes again neighing. And this pastime of Aarab children, of 
pure race, is without strife of envious hearts, an angry voice is 
not heard, a blow is not struck among them. The nomads are 
never brutal. This may last for an hour or two : the younger 
men will sometimes draw to the merry-make where the young 
maidens be : they frolic like great camels amongst the small 
ghrannem ; but not unclad, nor save with the eyes approach 
they to that chanting bevy of young damsels ; an ill-blooded 
nature appearing in any young man, he shall have the less 
estimation among them. After the child's age, these indolent 
Arabians have not any kind of manly pastime among them. Of 
Ahl Gibly, or southern nomads, I have not seen horsemen so 
much as exercise themselves upon their mares. Child's play it 
were in their eyes, to weary themselves, and be never the 
better. They have none other sport than to fire off their 
matchlocks in any household festivals. Herdsmen, they are 
naturally of the contemplative life : weakly fed, there can be 
little flushing of gross sanguine spirits in their veins, which 
might move them to manly games ; very rarely is any Beduin 
robust. Southward of Hayil I did not see any young woman 
with the rose blood in her cheeks ; even they are of the summer's 
drought, and palled at their freshest age. 

22—2 






I 



340 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

Now in the mild summer is the season of muzayyins, 
X the Nomad children's circumcision feasts : the mother's booth 
[ is set out with beggarly fringes of scarlet shreds, tufts of 
mewed ostrich feathers, and such gay gauds as they may 
borrow or find. Hither a chorus assembles of slender daugh- 
ters of their neighbours, that should chant at this festival 
P in their best array. A fresh kerchief binds about every 
\ damsel's forehead with a feather ; she has ear-rings great as 
\ bracelets, and wears to-day her nose-ring, znieyem : they are 
jewels in silver ; and a few, as said, from old time are fine gold 
, metal, thahab el-asfr. These are ornaments of the Beduin 
Svomen, hardly seen at other times (in the pierced nostril, they 
^wear for every day a head of cloves), and she has bracelets 
of beads and metal finger-rings. The thin black tresses loosed 
to-day and not long, hang down upon their slight shoulders, and 

C shine in the sun, freshly combed out with camel urine. The 
lasses have borrowed new cloaks, which are the same for man 
or woman. Making a fairy ring apart, they begin, clapping 
the palms of their little hands, to trip it round together, 
chanting ever the same cadence of few words, which is a single 
verse. Hungered young faces, you might take them for some 
gipsy daughters ; wayward not seldom in their mother's house- 
holds, now they go playing before men's eyes, with downcast 
looks and a virginal timidity. But the Aarab raillery is never 
long silent, and often the young men, in this daylight feast, 
stand jesting about them. Some even pluck roughly at the 
feathers of the lasses, their own near cousins, in the dance, 
which durst answer them nothing, but only with reproachful 
eyes : or laughing loud the weleds have bye and bye divided 
this gentle bevy among them for their wives ; and if a 
stranger be there, they will bid him choose which one he 
would marry among them. "Heigh-ho! what thinkest thou 
of these maidens of ours, and her, and her, be they not fair- 
faced ? ' But the virgins smile not, and if any look up, their 
wild eyes are seen estranged and pensive. They are like 
children under the rod, they should keep here a studied de- 
meanour ; and for all this they are not Sirens. In that male 
tyranny of the Mohammedan religion regard is had to a distant 
maidenly behaviour of the young daughters ; and here they 
dance as the tender candidates for happy marriage, and the- 
blessed motherhood of sons. May their morrow approach ! 
which shall be as this joyful day, whose hap they now sing,, 
wherein a man-child is joined to the religion of Islam ; it 
is better than the day of his birth. The nomad son is circum- 
cised being come to the strength of three full years ; and then 



MUZAYYINS. 341 

as the season may serve without any superstition of days, and 
as the mother shall be able to provide corn or rice enough 
for her guests' supper. They sometimes put off the surgery till 
the morrow, in any rough windy weather, or because of the 
Aarab's rahla. 

The friends of the father will come in to be his guests : some* 
of them have adorned themselves with the gunner's belt and gay 
baldric, rattling with the many little steel chains and brass powder- 
cases ; and they bear upon their shoulders the long matchlocks. 
Therewith they would prove their hand to shoot, at the sheep's 
skull, which the child's babbu has sacrificed to ' the hospitality.' 
Every man kills his sacrifice, as in the ancient world, with 
his own hands, and the carcase is flayed and brittled with the 
Arabs' expedition. Nomads are all expert fleshers ; the quarters 
hang now upon some bush or boughs, which wandering in 
an open wilderness, they have sought perhaps upon a far 
mountain side. As the sun goes low the meat is cast into the 
caldron, Jidda. The great inwards remain suspended upon 
their trophy bush. After the flesh, a mess is cooked in the 
broth of such grain as they have. The sun setting, the maidens 
of the ring-dance disperse : the men now draw apart to their 
prayers, and in this time the cattle of every household are driven 
in. The men risen from their prayers, the supper is served 
in the tent : often thirty men's meat is in that shield-wide 
wooden platter which is set before them. A little later some 
will come hither of the young herdsmen returning boisterous 
from the field ; they draw to the merry noise of the muzayyin 
that feel a lightness in their knees to the dance. A-row, every 
one his arm upon the next one's shoulder, these laughing 
weleds stand, full of good humour ; and with a shout they foot it 
forth, reeling and wavering, advancing, recoiling in their chorus 
together ; the while they hoarsely chant the ballad of a single 
verse. The housewives at the booth clap their palms, and one 
rising with a rod in her hand, as the dancing men advance, she 
dances out to meet them ; it is the mother by likelihood, and 
joyously she answers them in her song : whilst they come on bend- 
ing and tottering a-row together, with their perpetual refrain. 
They advancing upon her, she dances backward, feinting defence 
with the rod ; her face is turned towards them, who maintain 
themselves, with that chanted verse of their manly throats, as it 
were pursuing and pressing upon her. — The nomads imagine 
even the necessity of circumcision : graziers, they will allege the 
examples of all cattle, that only in the son of Adam may be 
found this manner of impediment. When they questioned me 
I have said, " You can amend then the work of Ullah ! " — " Of 



342 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

that we speak not, they answered, but only of the expediency/ 
Questioned, What be the duties of a Moslem ? they responded 
" That a man fast in the month, and recite his daily prayers ; " — 
making no mention of the circumcision, which they call " purifi- 
cation." 

The 15th of April, after a morning wind, blustering cold 
from the north-eastward, I found early in the afternoon, with 
still air and sunshine, the altitude being 4000 feet, 95 deg. F. 
in the booth's shelter. The drooping herb withered, the summer 
drought entering, the wilderness changed colour ; the spring 
was ended. The Beduins removed and lodged in their desolate 
camps : upon a morrow, when the camels had been driven forth 
an hour, an alarm was given from the front, of gom. A herds- 
man came riding in, who had escaped, upon a thelul, and told 
it in the mejlis, " el-'bil, the camel-herds are taken." The 
sheukh rose from the hearth and left their cups with grave 
startled looks : all went hardily out, and hastily, to find their 
mares. Hovering haramiyeh had been seen yesterday, and 
now every man hied to take arms. The people ran, like angry 
wasps, from the booths : some were matchlock men, some had 
spears, all were afoot, save the horsemen sheykhs, and hastened 
forth to require their enemies, which could not be seen in 
that short desert horizon : bye and bye only the housewives, 
children and a few sick and old men were left in the encamp- 
ment. Some asked me would I not ride to set upon the 
thieves ; for Zeyd's talk had been that Khalil would foray with 
them. " Khalil (cried the housewives), look for us in your wise 
books ; canst thou not prophesy by them (shuf fil ghraib) : 
read thou and tell us what seest thou in them of these go- 
manies. — A punishment fall upon them ! they certainly espied 
the people's watch-fires here this last night, and have been 
lurking behind yonder mountain until the camels were driven 
out." — The long morning passed over us, in the cold incer- 
titude of this misadventure. 

Motlog had ridden days before to Hayil to treat with the 
emir, and left Eahyel to govern the tribe ; a man of perplexed 
mind in this sudden kind of conjuncture. The armed tribes- 
men returning after midday, we went to sit in the mejlis and 
talk over this mishap. I heard no word spoken yet of pursuing ; 
and enquiring of my neighbour, " Ay, they would mount their 
theluls, said he, so soon as the 'bil were come home at evening ; " 
for all the great cattle were not taken, but those which had been 
driven forth from the north side of the menzil. Celerity is 
double strokes in warfare, but these Beduins sat still the long 



BOBBEBS. 343 

day and let the robbers run, to wonder what they were ; they 
all said, "some Aarab of the North," for they had seen them 
armed with pistols. They reasoned whether those should be 
Sherarat or Howeytat Ibn Jasy (Beduins from about Maan) ; or 
else of the Kuwalla. " Hear me, and I shall make it known to 
you, said Zeyd (who had this vanity among them), what they 
were. I say then, es-Sokhur, and ye shall find it true." The 
few words which had fallen from the foemen's lips were now 
curiously examined. They had challenged the camel herds, 
" What Aarab be ye — ha ! the Fejir ? " but this could not suffice 
to distinguish the loghrat of a tribe. The gom were thirteen 
horsemen, and twenty riders upon theluls. In driving off the 
booty a mare broke loose from them, and she was led into the „ 
encampment, but of that nothing could be learned, the nomad 
sheykhs not using to brand their horses with the tribe's cattle- ^ 
mark. This mare, by the third day, perished of thirst ! that 
none would pour out to her of their little water. If a tribes- 
man's goat stray among them, and her owner be not known, 
none will water her. In the time when I was with them, I saved 
the lives of a strayed beast or two, persuading some of my 
patients to give them drink. 

They now reckoned in the mejlis the number of camels 
taken, saying over the owners' names : Zeyd kept count, "J 
scoring a new line for every ten in the sand : so he told them J 
and found six score and seven camels — the value of £600 or | 
more. All this tribes' camels were not so many as 2000, 
nor I think fully 1500 ; and the whole fortune of the Fukara 
Beduins in the field, two hundred households, their great 
and small cattle with the booths and utensils, I suppose, not.^. 
to exceed £17,000. Besides which is their landed patrimony! 
at Kheybar, that may be worth £7000 more. A household ofl 
these poor southern Beduins may thus, I think, possess the "* 
capital value of £120 sterling ; and much like to them are their 
nomad neighbours about. In the same small tribe there are 
nobles and commons, the sufficient livelihood, and the pittance, 
and abject misery. The great sheykh Motlog, possessing more 
than other men, had not so many of his own as twenty-five camels, 
There is difference also between tribe and tribe ; the great 
tribes of the north, as the Annezy in Syria, and the northern 
Shammar upon Mesopotamia, wandering in plenteous country, 
are rich in cattle and horses : so also may be reckoned Kahtan 
and Ateyby of the southern tribes, (their diras we shall see are 
watered by the yearly monsoon ;) but these middle tribes of 
nomads, in a rainless land, are " weaker." Those at the haj 
road which receive a surra, are the most coffee-lazing, beggarly 



344 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

and pithless minded of them all. The Fejir sheukh divided 
between them, every year, I think about £600 of these pay- 
ments ! whereof almost an hundred pounds fell to Zeyd, who 
received his father's surra, and £160 to Motlog : besides some 
changes of clothing, grain, and certain allowances for their tents, 
and utensils ; yet poor they all were, and never the better. 
Motlog's halal, or ' lawful own ' of cattle, his mare and his tent 
and household gear together, were worth, I think, not £300 : 
add to this for his funded property at Kheybar, and we ma}* 
find he possessed hardly above £500. 

The Aarab trifled time which could never be theirs again ; 
the housewives made some provision ready for those that 
should mount at evening. This mounting is at every man's 
free will, and yet the possessor of a thelul cannot shun the 
common service and keep his honest name. Kahyel led the 
pursuit. Some as they sat boasted, " This night or towards 
morning, when the haramiyeh think themselves come in security, 
and are first reposing, we shall be suddenly upon them, and 
recover our own, if the Lord will, and take their beasts from 
under them." As camels are driven off in a foray, the robbers 
chase them all that day at a run before them, hoping to outgo 
the pursuit ; and now as the sun was setting, these might be 
gotten almost fifty miles in advance. The last words were, as 
they rose, " Please God, every camel of those taken shall be 
couched again, to-morrow about this time, before the booth of 
his household : " and with this good augury the company dis- 
persed, going to their suppers, and afterward the riders would 
take their theluls, the sheykhs (for a long pursuit) not leading 
their mares with them. Zeyd sat still at home ; he had two 
theluls, he said " they were ailing." Khalaf sat also close in 
his booth, a man who, though vaunting his mare's worth at so 
many camels and himself of the principal W. Aly sheykhs, had 
not a beast to mount. A weak reason is found too light in the 
balance of public estimation ; and Zeyd all the next day sitting 
melancholy, sipping much coffee, vehemently protested to be 
ever since sorry, by Ullah, that he was not ridden along with 
them . 

His camels were saved that day, feeding on the other side of 
the desert ; but a calamity as this is general, and to be borne by 
the tribe. None which had lost their cattle to-day would be left 
destitute ; but the governing sheykh taxing all the tribesmen, 
the like would be rendered to them, out of the common con- 
tribution, in a day or two. He will send some round as assessors 
to the menzils, where every man's state being known, the com- 
putation is made of the cattle of every household. There was 



THE NOMAD LAW —LOST CATTLE. 345 

levied of Zeyd the next day, of less than twenty that he had, a 
camel, and the value of certain head of small cattle. The 
nomad tribes we have seen to be commonwealths of brethren, 
ruled by their sheykhs with an equitable moderation. They 
divide each others' losses, and even in such there is community 
between whole tribes. Mischief is never far from them, an evil 
day may chance which has not befallen them in many years, 
when a tribe is stripped at a stroke, of nearly all its cattle, as 
later in my knowledge, the Moahib. — And what then ? The 
next Billi of free-will gave them, of their own, much cattle. 

If cattle be robbed of any strangers dwelling in the tribe, 
the tribesmen are not bound, as neither upon those should fall 
any contribution for the losses of their hosts : yet there are 
magnanimous tribes, (I have heard it told of Shammar,) that 
will give somewhat, of free-will, to him who has long time lived ^ 
in fellowship amongst them, in his afflicted case. If any 
villager has entrusted beasts to a nomad, to graze with his own 
cattle, and they are reaved by the tribe's enemies, the villager 
will demand his own, and scurvily attach the Beduwy, as his 
debtor, if he may take him again in his village : but the 
Beduwy, whose law does not bind him to such restitutions, will 
be ware, and no more adventure thither. These controversies 
are long-lived, and often the old grudges are inherited among 
them, to the third generation. — The law of Israel is for the 
villager in this case, and enjoins the grazier's restitution of 
the entrusted cattle. There is also amongst Beduins a loss 
without remedy, when a man's beasts are taken and the sheykhs 
in the mejlis find that the loss is his own, and not in the 
public adventure of the tribe. The unhappy tribesman bitterly 
calls his sheykhs unjust, he is bare and they will not repair his 
undoing out of the public stock : I have known some such, sad 
men for life. I have known also well-faring Beduins suddenly 
come to poverty, when their camels had all died of a murrain. 
As in the whole world, so among this poor folk, it is much, in 
the evil day, to be well befriended. At the good and liberal 
man's need, every one of his fellowship will bring him a head 
of the flock in his hand ; so may he come to a little strength 
again. 

Their ghrazzus and counter-ghrazzus are the destruction of 
the Aarab. Heaving and bereaved they may never thrive ; in 
the end of every tide it is but an ill exchange of cattle. So in 
the eyes of nomads, the camel troops of the Fukara were all 
*' mingled " cattle and uneven, that is, not home-born-like, but 
showing to be robbed beasts out of several diras. Motlog's son 
said to me, he who should be great sheykh after him, " Ay, 



346 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

wellah ! all our camels are harram, (of prey taken in the forays,) 
and not our lawful own." The Fejir were impoverished of late 
years, by their neighbours' incursions : Bishr, and after them 
the W. Aly, had taken their flocks ; but they lost most by a 
murrain, in these hot sandy marches, a kind of colic, in which 
there had died nearly all the remnant of their small cattle. 
A year before, Zeyd had a great mixed herd of goats and 
sheep, so that Hirfa, the last spring time, made a camel 
load and a half (as much as £18 worth) of samn. Now I saw 
but an ewe and two milch goats left to them, which yielded in 
the day but a short bowl of milk, and, discouraged, he would 
not buy more. Zeyd had inherited of his father, who was the 
former great sheykh's brother, a large landed patrimony of 
palm-stems at Kheybar : the half fruit being to the negro 
husbandmen, his own rent was, he told me, nearly 200 reals. 
Thus Zeyd, with his surra, had spending silver for every day, in 
good years, of nearly two reals, the value of a goat, which is 
much money in the khala : yet the man was miserable, and 
loving to defer payments, he was always behind the hand with 
old usury. Sheykhs of the B. Wahab lay up their money, 
thdhab, (spared from the haj surra,) at el-Ally ; out of this, one 
who is low will increase his " halal " silently, and may sometime 
go to the bottom of his bag to purchase him a new mare. 

Bahyel's pursuing party was three nights out. The 
men left in camp being now very few, they came continually 
together to drink coffee. The affectionate housewives sat abroad 
all day watching : at mid-afternoon, the fourth after, we heard 
the hareem's jubilee, lullilu! — but the merry note died away in 
their throats when, the longer they looked, they saw those that 
came riding in the horizon were leading nothing home with 
them. The men rose together, and going forth, they gazed 
fixedly. " What, said they, means this cry of the hareem ? for 
look, they arrive empty-handed, and every man is riding apart 
to alight at his own household ! " so returning to their fatal 
indolence, they re-entered as men that are losers, and sat down 
again. " Some of them, they said, will presently bring us 
tidings." Kahyel soon after dismounted at his tent, pitched 
near behind us. — The housewife comes forth as her husband 
makes his thelul kneel ; she receives him in silence, unsaddles 
the beast, and carries in his gear. The man does not often 
salute her openly, nor, if he would to the mejlis, will he 
speak to his wife yet ; so Bahyel, without entering his booth, 
stepped over to us. — " Peace be with you ! " said he from a dry 
throat ; and seating himself with the sigh of a weary man, in 



RETURN OF THE PURSUIT. 347 

some sadness, he told us, ' that in the second day, following the 
enemy upon the Nefud, they came where a wind had blown out 
the prints/ and said he, " So Ullah willed it ! " They turned 
then their beasts' heads, — they had no list to cast further about, 
to come again upon the robbers' traces. " Ha well ! God would 
have it so ! " responded the indolent Aarab. A weak enemy 
they thus faintly let slip through their fingers, for a little 
wind, though these were driving with them nearly a tithe 
of all their camels. But Eahyel, to knit up his sorry tale 
with a good ending, exclaimed, ' Wellah, they had found 
water at the wells el-Hyza in the Nefud ; and as they came 
again by Teyma, he heard word that some of the gom had 
touched there, and they were of the Sherarat : " — Eahyel, with 
his troop, had ridden nearly two hundred idle miles. " Bye and 
bye we shall know (said the Beduins) which tribesmen robbed 
our camels ; then will we ghrazzy upon them, and God willing, 
take as many of them again." But the ghrazzus often return 
empty : a party of Fukara, " twenty rikdb " or warfaring theluls, 
which rode lately upon the Beny Atieh, had taken nothing. 

Every man leans upon his own hand in the open desert, and 
there will none for naught take upon him a public service. 
The sheykh may persuade, he cannot compel any man ; and if 
the malcontent will go apart, he cannot detain them. The 
common body is weak, of members so loosely knit together, 
and there befalls them many an evil hap, which by a public 
policy might have been avoided. — " Why send you not out 
scouts, (thus I reasoned with Zeyd,) which might explore the 
khala in advance of your pasturing cattle ? or cannot you set 
some to watch in the tops of the rocks, for the appearing of an 
enemy ! Why commit yourselves thus to wild hazard, who 
are living openly in the midst of danger ? " When Zeyd gravely 
repeated my words in the mejlis, the sheykh's son answered 
readily, " Ay, and that were very well, if we might put it in 
practice ; but know, Khali], there are none of the Beduw will 
thus adventure themselves by twos or threes together, for 
fear of the habalis, we cannot tell where they lie until thou 
hearest from behind a crag or bush deh ! and the shot strikes 
thee." 

Later in the week Motlog came again from Hayil : he had_j 
not before been thither, nor his companions ; but they crossed 
an hundred miles over the open khala guided by sight only 
of the mountain landmarks, which they had enquired before- 
hand. We had shifted ground many times in his absence ; and 
it was strange for me to see them ride in, without having 



348 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

erred, to our menzil. As the journeys of the tribesmen are 
determined beforehand, they might reckon, within a day's 
distance, where riding they should fall upon our traces, which 
finding they will follow the fresh footing of our late rahla ; 
and climbing on all heights as they come, they look for the black 
booths of their Aarab. Thus these land-navigators arrive bye 
and bye at the unstable village port of their voyage. All the 
tribesmen which were not abroad herding, assembled to parlia- 
ment, where they heard Motlog was gone down, to his brother 
Kahyel's tent, to hear their sheykh give account of his embassy 
to the emir, which imported so much to the policy of their 
little desert nation. — Every man had armed his hand with the 
tobacco-pipe, and, said each one arriving, " Strengthen thee, 
Motlog ! " and to the great sheykh he handed up his gallium 
Motlog sat freshly before them, in his new apparel, the ac- 
customed gift of the emir, and he filled all their pipe-heads 
benignly, with the aromatic tit tun el-Hameydy of Mesopotamia ; 
of which he had brought with him a few weeks' cheer, from 
the village capital. The coffee was slowly served round, to 
so great an assembly. Burdensome was that day's heat, and 
now the mid-day's sun overhead, yet there was none who 
thought of going to his slumber, or even to eat ; such was 
all the people's expectation to hear the mind of the terrible 
emir. They sat this day out, no man moving from his place, 
and yet fasting, except only from coffee and tittun, till the 
evening. — The prince licensed them to return, without fear, into 
their own dira. 

The vassals of Ibn Eashid receive, after the audience, a 
change of clothing ; besides, the emir bestowed sixty silver 
reals upon Motlog, and gave ten pieces to each of his way- 
fellows. These are arts of the Arabian governors, to retain, 
with a pretended bounty, the slippery wills of the wild Beduw : 
and well sown is the emir's penny, if he should reap, in the 
next years, ten-fold. Motlog was sheykh of one of the tribu- 
tary tribes, a little wide of his reach. The tax upon the 
nomads is light, and otherwise it could never be gathered ; a 
crown piece is payment for every five camels, or for thirty head 
of small cattle. Of the Fukara was levied thus but four 
hundred reals, which is somewhat as eight or nine shillings for 
every household : yet the free-born, forlorn and predatory Beduw 
grimly fret their hearts under these small burdens ; the emir's 
custom is ever untimely, the exaction, they think, of a stronger, 
and plain tyranny : yet yielding this tribute, they become of 
the prince's federation, and are sheltered from all hostility of 
the Aarab in front. Motlog was a prudent man, of reach and 



THE TRIBE RETURNING TO THEIR DIRA. 349 

sight ; but he could not see through sixty reals. This was a 
pleasant policy of the emir, and by the like the wisest man's 
heart is touched ; and the nomad sheykh brought back, in 
his new smelling clothes, a favourable opinion, for the while, of 
the. flattering prince, and Hayil government ; and thought in 
his heait, to be the prince's liegeman, for the present, of whom 
he had received so gentle entertainment. But the haughty 
Mohammed Ibn Rashid, who paid the scot, had another opinion 
of him ; the emir afterward told me, with his own mouth, that 
he misliked this Motlog. 

Blithe were the Fukara to return to their home marches,**! 
and better to them than all this high desolate country, which 
(said they) is ' ghror, a land wherein is nothing good, for man 
nor cattle.' Also, they think that dira better, by which the 
derb el-haj passes ; they say, " We have a kella," that is 
a house of call, and store-chambers, the caravan market is 
held there, and their sheukh receive surra. On the morrow 
we marched ; and the Beduins henceforth removed every day 
by short journeys ; now their face was homeward. Behind us we_ 
left J. Misma, then some mountain which I heard named Roaf : 
the third day we came to drink upon the upland, at a wide ( 
standing water, in a gravel bed, which in winter is a lake-plash, J 
of the ponded rain, Therrai. 

We marched then in a sandstone country, where, for 
crags, thick as loaves in a baker's oven, we could not see > 
the next riders about us. From the fifth march, we 
alighted again under Birrd, to water, in the natural deep chaps 
of the precipitous sandstone mountain : the herdsmen, digging 
shallow pits with their hands in the fetid sand, took up in 
buckets, with their waterer's song, a sandy foul water. We 
removed now daily, loading before dawn, and alighting at high 
noon. In another march we came, under the flaming sun, over 
the high open plain, a barren floor of gravel, towards a great 
watering place and summer station of the tribe, el-Erudda*^-. 
These uplands are mostly without growth of the desert acacia 
trees : woe is therefore the housewife, for any tent-peg lost ' 
in the rahla. Yet now appeared a long line of acacias, and a 
white swelling country, these are the landmarks of el-Erudda j ^ 
and here, at the midst of their dira, is a mdkbara, or common 
burying-place of the tribe, with few barren plants of wild 
palms. It is hardly a journey from hence to el-Hejr : the _j 
Beduins would be here umjemmin, for many days. 

Camels strayed the next night from Zeyd's menzil ; the 
owners scoured the country, hoping to have sight of them, for 
where all the soil was trodden down with innumerable foot- 



350 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

prints of the tribe's cattle, they could not distinguish the traces. 
It was not that they feared their beasts, losing themselves, 
must in few days perish with thirst : the great dull and sheep- 
like cattle have a perfect conscience of all watering places of 
their home dira ; though, for all their long necks, in but very few 

Cof them might they attain to drink. Three years before, when 
the Fukara were in Syria, some camels of theirs, frayed and lost 
near the Hauran, had been recovered by tribesmen returning 
later in the year from Medina, who, crossing their own dira, found 
those beasts feeding about a watering, in the border of the Hejaz. 
The men knew them, by the brand, to be some of their tribe's 
cattle, and brought up again those fugitive camels, which had 
fled to their native marches, over seven geographical degrees. 

We had no more notice of the haramiyeh. — Then, by a 
Solubby family which arrived from over the Harra, there came 
uncertain tidings, that their cattle had been retaken by the 
Moahib : a small Moahib foray riding in the north had crossed 
the robbers; (hostile ghrazzus, meeting in the wilderness, hail 
each other, ya gom ! " ho ! ye enemies,") but not able to over- 
take the main body of them, they had cut off but fifteen camels. 
The custom of one real salvage, for a head, is paid between 
friendly tribes, and they are restored to the owners. 

At length we understood that the robbers, as Zeyd fore- 
told, had been a party of Beny Sokhr, who from their tents in 
Syria, to the place where they met with us had ridden out not 
less than four hundred miles ; and in their company there rode 
a few men of the Sherarat nomads who are part friends, part 
not well " with the Fejir. As for the Sokhur, our Beduins 
reckoned them hitherto neither friends nor enemies ; yet certain 
Fukara households, of the northern migration, were wandering 
with that tribe to this day. A ragged rout of B. Sokhr, 
carriers to the Haj, must every year pass, with the caravan, 
through the Fukara country. — On behalf of the Fejir a young 
sheykh, Mijwel, was sent after this to the North, to treat peace- 
ably with the B. Sokhr for the restitution of his tribe's camels. 
"\ The elders of B. Sokhr responded in the mejlis, " They that 
>^ had reaved the Fukara cattle were a company of ignorant young 
" men ; but their ignorance to be less blameworthy because they 
found the Fejir wandering out of their own dira." The sheykhs 
promised that good part of the cattle should be brought again 
with the Haj ; the rest they would have conceded to the turbu- 
lent young men, " which must be appeased, with somewhat 
for their pains, and that for an end of strife." More might 
not Mijwel obtain : and this is as much justice as may commonly 
be had in the world. 



■» 



i 



QUESTION WITH ZEYD. 35 t 

Now, arrived at el-Erudda, my mind was to forsake the 
Beduin life and pass by el-Ally to the sea coast at el-Wejh. 
My friends bade me speak with Motlog in the matter of my 
camel. Why did not Zeyd obey the pasha's injunction ? — and 
then this mischief had not chanced. I had not the price of 
another camel, — hard must be my adventure henceforth 
in land of Arabia. The custom of the desert is that of .. 
Moses, ' If any man's beast hurt the beast of another man, 
the loss shall be divided.' Frolic in the succulent spring 
herbage, the great unwieldy brutes rise in the night with full 
cuds to play their whale-sports together ; some camel then, 
as the Beduins held, had fallen upon the neck of my gaping 
young camel: whether it happened then, or in the camels' 
bouncing forth to their morning pasture, it was among Zeyd's 
troop of camels. I must bring witnesses : but who would give 
testimony against a sheykh of his tribe, for the Nasrany ? 
Amongst Mohammedans, and though they be the Beduins of the 
wilderness, there is equity only between themselves. I found ^ 
Motlog in his tent, who with a woollen thread was stitching in ] 
his mare's saddle-pad. " A pity, said the sheykh, that any " 
controversy should grow betwixt Khalil and Zeyd, who were 
brethren, but the Pasha's words ought to have been observed." 
Zeyd was disappointed in me of his greedy hopes ; fortune had 
given us both checkmate since the hope of my vaccination had 
failed ; there remained only my saddle-bags, and his eyes daily 
devoured them. Great they were, and stuffed to a fault, in 
a land where passengers ride without baggage. Heavy Zeyd 
found their draught, and he felt in them elbow-deep day by day, 
which was contrary to the honourable dealing of an host ; — besides 
my apprehension that he might thus light upon my pistol and 
instruments, which lay hidden at the bottom in our menzils. 

For these displeasures, in a last rahla I had forsaken Zeyd, 
and came on walking over the waste gravel, under the scalding 
sun many miles till the Aarab alighted. Zeyd found in his 
heart that he had done me wrong, I had not deceived him, and 
he respected my person : I also needfully avoided to rake up 
the wild unknown depths of their Mohammedan resentment. 
I entered Motlog's tent, the sheykhly man sat playing with his 
children, he was a very affectionate father. Thither came 
Zeyd soon and sat down to drink coffee ; then raising his 
portentous voice said he, " If I had not intended to devour 
him, wellah, I had not received the Nasrany ; I would not 
have suffered him to accompany the Aarab, no not in a rahla. 
The Nasrany gave sixty reals (a fable) to Mohammed Aly, 
and I require the like to be paid me in this hour." " No, 



352 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

(Motlog answered from behind the women's curtain, whither he 
was gone for somewhat,) this is not in thy hand, Zeyd." 
Zeyd complaining that my being in his menzil was an expense 
to him, I proved that Zeyd had received of me certain reals, and 
besides a little milk I had taken of him nothing : but his 
meaning was that I brought too many coffee guests, who all 
• came thither to see the stranger. Zeyd had bought two reals 
worth in the haj market. " Here (I said) is that money, and 
let Zeyd trust further to my friendly possibility. Zeyd com- 
plains of me with little cause ; I might complain with reason ; 
should one treat his guest's baggage as thing which is taken in 
the ghrazzu ? he seeks even in my purse for money, and in my 
belt, and ransacks my bags." — " Ha ! how does Zeyd ? " said 
some sheykh's voice. I answered, in my haste, " Billah, like an 
hablus." Motlog shrank at the word, which had been better 
unsaid ; the Beduins doubted if they heard Khalil aright : the 
worst was that Zeyd in all his life came so near to merit 
this reproachful word, which uttered thus in the mejlis, must 
cleave to him in the malicious memory of his enemies. He 
rose as he had sipped the cup and left us. In our evening 
mirth the hinds often called to each other, hablus ! hablus ! 
which hearing, and I must needs learn their speech of the 
Arabs, I had not supposed it amiss : but Zeyd vaunted him- 
self sherif. When he was gone out some said, so had Zeyd 
done to such and such other, Zeyd was a bad man ; (the Beduw 
easily blame each other). Said Motlog, ' in the question of the 
camel I must bring witnesses, but he would defend me from all 
wrongful demands of Zeyd.' 

As we sat, one came in who but then returned from an 
absence ; as the custom is he would first declare his tidings in 
the mejlis, and afterward go home to his own household. He 
sat down on his knee, but was so poor a man, there was none in 
the sheykhly company that rose to kiss him : with a solemn look 
he stayed him a moment on his camel-stick, and then pointing 
gravely with it to every man, one after other, he saluted him 
with an hollow voice, by his name, saying, " The Lord strengthen 
thee ! " A poor old Beduin wife, when she heard that her son 
was come again, had followed him over the hot sand hither ; now 
^she stood to await him, faintly leaning upon a stake of the beyt 
J a little without, since it is not for any woman to enter where 
the men's mejlis is sitting. His tidings told, he stepped abroad 
to greet his mother, who ran, and cast her weak arms about 
his manly neck, trembling for age and tenderness, to see 
him alive again and sound ; and kissing him she could not 
speak, but uttered little cries. Some of the co flee- drinkers 



THE LOVE OF A MOTHER. 



353 



laughed roughly, and mocked her drivelling, but Motlog said, 
11 Wherefore laugh ? is not this the love of a mother ? " 

Selim came soon to call me from his father ; " Well, go with 
Selim, said Motlog, and be reconciled to Zeyd ; and see that 
neither require aught of the other." Zeyd invited me into his 
wife's closed apartment, where we sat down, and Hirfa with us, to 
eat again the bread and salt together. Zeyd soon returned from 
these rubs, when he could not find his ' brother ' in fault, to the 
Beduin good humour, and leaning on his elbow he would reach 
over, pledge of our friendship, the peaceable sebil, I should 
' drink ' with him tobacco : — and such are the nomads, f Our late 
contention was no more mentioned, but it was long after branded 
in Zeyd's mind, that Khalil had called him hablus. In the* 
autumn of this year, when the Fukara lay encamped at el-Hejr, 
and I was again with them, as I passed by Zeyd's menzil, he 
called me from the beyt, " ya Khalil taall come hither," I 
greeted him, and also the housewife behind the curtain 
" gowwich Hirfa, the Lord strengthen thee." — Zeyd answered, 
" It is the voice of Khalil, and the words of a Beduwy ; " and he 
rose to bring me in to eat a bowl of rice with him, which was 
then ready. After meat, " he was glad to see me, he said, once 
more here in his beyt, it was like the old times ; " then a little 
casting down his eyes he added, "but after our friendship I was 
wounded, Khalil, when you named me hablus, and that before 
the sheukh." — " Because you had threatened and displeased me ; 
but, Zeyd, let not this trouble thee ; how could I know all the 
words of you Beduins ? Seest thou these black worsted tents ? 
Are they not all booths of habhises ? " We walked down to the 
mejlis, where Zeyd related, smiling, that my meaning had been 
but to name him " thou Beduwy." 

— When I reasoned with Zeyd, " Why didst thou not do as 
the Pasha commanded ? " cried he, " Who commands me ! henna 
(we are) el-Beduw : what is Pasha, or what is the Dowla here ? 
save only that they pay us our surra, and else we would take it 
by force." — " What is your force ? were an hundred of you, with 
club*sticks, lances, and old matchlocks, worth ten of the haj 
soldiery ?" — "We would shoot down upon them in the boghrazat." 
" And how far may your old rusty irons shoot ? " Zeyd answered, 
between jest and solemnity, " Arbaa saa," to four hours dis- 
tance : Saat is with the Aarab ' a stound,' a second or third space 
between the times of prayer. Often they asked me, " How many 
hours be there in the day ? We know not well saa." Their 
partitions of the daylight are el-fejr, the dawning before the 
sun ; el-gaila, the sun rising towards noon ; eth-tlwhr, the sun 
in the mid-day height ; el-assr, the sun descended to mid-after- 

D. T. 23 



1 



354 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

noon ; ghraibat es-shems, the sun going down to the setting : 
— mdghrib is a strange town speaking in their ears. 

CThe nomads' summer station at el-Erudda was now as an 
uncheerful village. In the time of wandering since the Haj, the 
sheykhs had spent their slender stores of coffee ; and " where 
no coffee is, there is not merry company," say the Aarab. Their 
coffee hearths now cold, every man sat drooping and dull, 

Cfi ahlahu, in his own household. Said Zeyd, " This was the life 
of the old nomads in the days before coffee." The sheukh would 
soon send down for more coffee of theirs which was stored at 
Medain ; and Zeyd must go thither to fetch up a sack of rice, 
which he had also deposited in the kella : I would then ride 
with him, intending to pass by el-Ally to the Bed Sea coast. 
The wilderness fainted before the sunny drought ; the harvest 
was past, and I desired to be gone. The Aarab languished lying 
in the tents ; we seemed to breathe flames. All day I gasped and 
hardly remained alive, since I was breathless, and could not 
eat. I had sometimes a thought in the long days to teach Selim 
letters : but when his son had learned the alphabet Zeyd would 
no more, lest the child should take of me some faulty utterance ; 
my tongue he said was not yet "loosed." Having a vocabulary 
in my hand, now and then I read out a page or two to the 
company. Certainly I could not err much in the utterance of 
many words that were before well known to me ; but no small 
part of these town and bookish terms' were quite unknown to all 
my nomad hearers ! of some it seemed they had not the roots, 
of many they use other forms. They wondered themselves, and 
as Arabs will (who have so much feeling in their language and 
leisure to be eloquent) considered word after word with a patient 
attention. Thus when simple tribesmen come sometime in 
their lives to enter any good town in the border-lands, the city 
speech sounds wonderfully quaint in their hearing, ' they wot 
hardly, they complain, what these townspeople should mean.' 
The bookish speech is raised upon the old koran Arabic, which 
was a lowland language, and never perhaps the tongue of the 
upland Aarab. [If this were doubted, it seems to be con- 
firmed by the learned Interpreters of the desert inscriptions, 
v. p. 187 and Doc. Epigr.] 

The evening before our departure, Mehsan had sacrificed a 
sheep, the year's-mind of his father here lying buried, and 
brought us of his cooked meat ; he was Zeyd's brother-in-law, 
and we were a homely company. I made them sweet tea ; and 
distributed presents of the things which I had. As we sat 



YEARS OF THE CAMEL. 355 

I asked these Beduins if my gaud (young camel) with the 
broken mouth could carry me a hundred and fifty miles to 
el-Wejh ? One sitting with us proffered, so I would give 
him ten reals, to exchange his own naga for mine. Zeyd and 
Mehsan approving; I gave the money ; but the meditations of 
the Arabs are always of treachery. The poor man's wife and 
children also playing the weepers, I gave them besides all that 
I might spare of clothing, of which they have so much need in 
the desert ; but after other days I saw my things put to sale 
at Teyma. I bought thus upon their trust, a dizzy camel, old, 
and nearly past labour and, having lost her front teeth, that 
was of no more value, in the sight of the nomads, than my _ 
wounded camel. I was new in their skill ; the camels are ~~) 
known and valued after their teeth, and with regard to the / 
hump. They are named by the teeth till the coming of the J 
canines in this manner : the calf of one year, howwar ; of 
two, libny ; the third, hej ; the fourth, jitha ; the fifth, thenny ; 
the sixth, rbbba ; the seventh, siddes ; and the eighth, shdgg 
en-naba, wafiat, mufter. 



23—2 



L 



CHAPTER XIII. 



MEDAIN REVISITED. PASSAGE OF THE HARRA. 

The sight of the Harra. Dye-fungus. The simum wind. Arrive with Zeyd 
at the kella Meddin Sdlih. Zeyd's complaint. Departure of Zeyd and the Be- 
duins. Breathless heat. M. ed-Deybis. The akhu. The Mezham inscriptions. 
Falcons. Strife of Nomads in the kella. ' Gunsalt.' Hejra site revisited. 
The possessed tree. Doolan an Antarid. The new moon. A star fallen. In- 
vaded by locusts. Coffee company of the W. Aly sheykhs in the kella. Motlog 
Allay da. His son Fdhd. Night alarm in the kella ; Nejm threatens to kill the 
lad Mohammed. New alarm. The lad Mohammed's marriage. Departure 
from the kella. Come again to the Beduins at el-Erudda. The hummu. At 
length the sun sets. Passage of the Harra. The gum-arabic acacia. Tan 
wood. Height of the vulcanic Harra. The Moahib. Barrows. Fortitude of the 
pack camels. Ddrs of the Nomads. A meeting with Aarab. Come to the 
Sehamma encamped in the Tehama. The sheykh Mahanna. Simdm air of the 
Tehama. 

When the day dawned , we departed : and soon there appeared 
before us the immane black platform of the Harra mountain ; 
the large desert lying between seeming a hollowness below our 
feet, in which passes the haj road. Some miles further we 
saw two or three men skulking among the rocks far off, where 
we entered a cragged country ; our company of five or six 
persons took them for habalis. We found before us the new 
sprung herb and better pasture than we had seen of late ; but 
this soil is seldom visited by the Beduw, * unless, said Zeyd, 
when sometimes we are removing and encamping together with 
the W. Aly.' Here near a main passage from the north, they 
were, although in their own dira, in too much danger of robbers. 
In this sinking upland, grew certain tall white toadstools ; some 
of our fellowship gathered them, and these, being boiled with 
alum in the urine of camels that have fed of the bush el-humth, 
yield they told me the gay scarlet dye of the Beduin wool- wives. 

At mid-afternoon we passed before a wall of rock, where I 
perceived a well-traced antique inscription, nearly in the Naba- 






THE SIMUM, 



357 



tean character of Medain Salih ; this only, of all the desert 
legends, is contained in a border. As I leapt down of a sudden, 



i) 



Sib-HiA^ 






my dizzy camel fled from me, but was out-ridden and turned 
by Zeyd upon his thelul. This I could conjecture to be some 
wayside inscription. A little more, and we come plainly into an 
ancient way, which is marked through this coast of mountains, 
down to the plain of el-Hejr, by heaps of stones. ' They were 
to show the road,' said my companions. This is the old way be- 
tween Hejr and Teyma. The old haj road, say the Beduins, 
passed by Teyma, and we know that a branch of the antique 
trade-road ascended thus to Syria. [Sprenger Alte Geogr. Ara- 
biens.] A droughty southern wind blew all that day against 
us, which parches the throat, without refreshment : the Aarab 
marching, covered their faces, to the eyes, with a lap of the 
kerchief. This is the hot blast of thin air, which they call " the 
pestilent," simum. The sun was set as we came down by a 
sandy steep, near the strange landmark (fig. p. 243) of a sand- 
stone rock which resembles a pawn at chess, to the plain- 
bottom of Medain, here much beset with great-grown desert 
bushes. Among these sand mounds and undergrowths, we met 
in the darkness with another Beduin party, and challenged 
them ; they knowing our voices, hailed us cheerfully again, they 
were marketers of our tribesmen, returning from el- Ally. J 

It was the third hour of the night when we beat at the iron- 
plate door of the kella. Haj Hasan ran, at the noise, with the 
lad Mohammed, upon the tower head, and looked from the 



358 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

battlements, and fiercely they called down to know what men we 
were, that troubled their rest at these hours. Then, hearing our 
voices, they flung down stairs with immoderate laughter, and 
came to unspar the door for us ; we entered, welcomed as old 
friends, and ascended to the coffee chamber. Haj Nejm came 
shuffling down in his sandals, with a host's smile to see us. The 
fire was blown again in the hearth, and he sat to make his guests 
coffee ; as we drank, and were long talking, Haj Nejm fetched us 
in a great dish of girdle-bread, which his wife in this while had 
baked and buttered, for the guests' supper. "Poor fare (quoth 
the hospitable old man) to set before you, but ye come late, and 
what is there in the kella ! " — " Would you treat us then (said 
Zeyd) as strangers ? are we not here at home, Haj Nejm? " It 
was friendly answered, nevertheless the jealous old tower-keeper 
winced, for a sting that came in the tail of it, he might remem- 
ber when those Fejir sheykhs had seized the kella. — " And 
Khalil, thou art come again, murabba, fat of the spring pasture ? 
(cries the young half Beduin lad Mohammed). Aha, the spring ! 
the pleasant spring! Oh then is the milk-season in the khala, 
and it is good to be with the Aarab." Zeyd, making his words 
at first flow softly with some praises and caresses, which Beduins 
of sheykhly urbanity put before the stab, fell into a long 
complaint of the small profit he had received by Khalil, who, 
for reward of his kindness, had called him hablus! The 
Moghrebies laughed out ; Zeyd the Beduwy and a shrew, could 
here win no favour, he spoke to ears that were of old hardened 
against him. Also the lad Mohammed, going out of door, 
had found my toothless naga ; and with this new mirth, 
breaking Zeyd's tedious discourse, Hasan and the lad went with 
loud laughing to their rests. Then when Zeyd, turning to Nejm, 
impudently discovered to him all the dark labyrinth of his 
robber-like mind, the honest old Moor, saying but this word, 
" Khalil, all the Beduw are sheyatin ! " ceased to give him 
audience ; and spreading down his mantle evenly before him, he 
went upon his knees, beginning with the solemn Mohammedan 
devotion to say the latter prayer : — Zeyd babbled on, without 
any heeding. Haj Nejm rising, brought a piece of a tent-cloth 
to spread upon the hard stone under me, and departed, bidding 
me rest well. 

Early, as it was day, Zeyd's hind had loaded his goods from 
the store-chamber, and the Beduw, standing by their beasts 
without the kella door, were ready to depart ; so Nejm bade 
them in to breakfast, and I was left alone : Zeyd wondering re- 
mained still, he would not willingly forsake me thus, — nay, had 
the Moghrebies showed me dangerous looks, I doubt not. Zeyd 






AGAIN AT MEDAIN SALIH. 359 

had conveyed me again safe to the friendly liberty of his Beduin 
booth "in the desert. But much other was the good old neigh- 
bour's mind ; a moment after, he returned to call me, where he 
had prepared my breakfast apart and, sign of his good will, with 
much samn. Soon the expeditious Beduins were risen to depart, 
and, saying to their host, " We bid thee peace," they mounted 
to return to el-Erudda. Nejm had received me well, a western 
man ; but commonly it were to put their tolerance to a dan- 
gerous proof, to return upon any Moslemin : then the alien in 
religion may find with confusion of heart, that those which 
were before his friends, are fallen out of charity with him. 
to the insane inhumanity of religious fanaticism ! I would 
descend immediately to el-Ally ; but Nejm persuaded me to 
lodge awhile in the kella, and meanwhile he would enquire for 
me of convoys to el-Wejh, or till he might send me in some 
safe company, upon the Harra to the Moahib, where I should 
find Abu Sinun, who trafficked very often thither. 

Now was the first week in May, the oasis fever was begun at 
el-Ally and, for the flies, a camel could not lie there above two 
days together ; and there being but the briny rimth and no 
wholesome bushes in the Hejr plain, I sent again my naga 
to pasture with the Beduw. The sultry heat of the open high- 
land, in the nomad booths, seemed here somewhat abated be- 
tween stone walls, the afternoon heat being about 88° Fahren- 
heit. The Arabian day ended, the evenings brought refreshment, 
the thermometer sinking till near the day-break ; when I found 
commonly about 68° Fahrenheit. Flaws of hot wind from the 
southward came upon us, with heat-drops in the sultry after- 
noons, whirling high dust clouds against the kella. These are 
blasts of the valleys, at a season when there are but light- 
floating airs in the high desert. The mid-day sun was so nigh 
vertical, that it shined-in no more over my threshold, which 
looked to the south. I found the birket dry, and the floor of 
sand a garden, plotted in beds of irrigation, and overrun with 
a lusty generation of water-melons, which Nejm had sown after 
the Haj. The kerchiefs of those of the kella were now rolled 
up into turbans, and their coffee fire was kindled abroad in the 
shadow : — this was their new summer world. 

I would now visit Mubrak en-Naga, in which I had seen so 
many antique inscriptions. Haj Nejm dreaded for me, and 
Hasan gainsaying with his wonted heat, blamed " The heartless 
folly of Khalil, that would trust himself alone with a Beduwy ! " 
I reminded him that Mohammed ed-Deybis who would ac- 
company me was his own father-in-law. " Ay, Khalil, and a 
Beduwy ! — if he intend no harm, yet thinkest thou at the sight 



360 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERT A. 

of an enemy he would not forsake thee ? " Finally Haj Nejm 
was for indulging me, saying, " Khalil must not be mewed' in the 
kella, and please God no harm may come of it." As we were 
setting forth at afternoon he recommended us to lodge this 
night well out of the way, and go with the first light of the 
morrow to the place, and stay there not an hour, and hasten away. 
Arabs of the settled countries have always too ill an opinion of 
the faith of the poor nomads. My rafik was startled, when they 
said they would bind his son for me in the kella till our coming 
again safe. The man was become my akhu, or brother-in-fee, 
by the gift of a crown for a new shirt-cloth, a sober, constant, 
and manly Beduwy ; and such he seemed perhaps more than he 
was indeed. An hundred times I have entrusted my lonely life, 
when I could not otherwise go forward, to a Beduin companion, 
unknown to me, and for great distances. Might not his 
treacherous sword-stroke, whilst I slept, have ended my days 
in the world ? but this were fratricide in the faith of the 
Arabian desert : none have offered me violence ; but when 
the way was too hard for them, I have by some been abandoned. 
The murderer of his rafik would be infamous whilst he lived, 
no faithful man in the Beduin menzils ought to suffer him to sit 
in his beyt. Yet there are some found, atrocious spirits, in 
every people, that cannot be bridled by any custom : also the 
most Moslems, when they cannot otherwise excuse themselves, 
will impiously maintain that " their law is not binding, save 
within the religion of the Moslemin." 

Mohammed's livelihood was mostly of his akhuship : he was 
akhu, with another tribesman, of Teyma ; if any Teymany were 
wronged by Fejir tribesmen, they would be his defenders and 
orators, to reclaim and recover for him in the mejlis. He re- 
ceived upon every well of the Teyamana six sahs of dates, about 
fourteen pence worth, by the year. Those Shammar villagers, 
being no close dwellers at home as the Alowna, but riders in 
the deserts, to hire well-camels, must needs have such alliance 
in all the Beduin tribes about them. Besides he was akhu for 
the poor Fehjies ; if any Fehjy were aggrieved in the tribe, 
Mohammed was his advocate in the mejlis. 

The way is three hours, and arriving near the passage at 
the fall of the evening, we went aside to shelter in a deep 
winding cleft of the Hejr mountain. We might kindle the 
supper fire there unespied, and hobbling her fore-legs Mo- 
hammed dismissed our camel to pasture. He climbed then 
before the sun set, to seek a troop of wild goats, whose fresh 
traces we had crossed below ; but the bedun, which he found 



THE MEZHAM. 



;6i 



couched only a little above, were too nimble for the unready 
Beduin hunter. As the next day was breaking, he followed 




the game anew, but returned without venture. Small is the 
cunning, and little the perseverance of these herdsmen carrying 



362 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

matchlocks : when they see the head of game, they must kindle 
their match, and by that they have blown it, the venison is 
sped out of a man's sight : yet the Solubba, with the same un- 
handsome tools, take desert game enough. 

We mounted our naga, and came shortly to the Mezham. 
This is a passage, certainly, of the old gold and frankincense 
road from Arabia the Happy : there is none other such from the 
Hejr plain, to the highlands above, for loaded camels. The free- 
way lies under the eastward cliff, which we have seen to be full 
of old inscriptions. Every one of the shallow legends, upon the 
soft sand-rock, was battered, it is very likely, with an idle stone : 
some of these antique scorings are yet white and clear, as any 
made , of late years, others are wasted with the wasting rock. 
[Doc. Epigr. pi. xvm, xix.] The most are single rows of Him- 
yaric letters ; a few are Nabatean : among the rest were two or 
three lines upon which I dwelt in some confusion of mind, — 
because I could read them (Hebrew ! or were they Christian 
names ?) in Greek ! abhBzi — abhcakio — yio bcniamhn — zhOoc — 
mreN — kV^akoc With all the pains in the world, I could faith- 
fully transcribe only a good part, which were legible, of that mul- 
titude of inscriptions. Here the old ascending passengers might 
look back a last time to the Nabatean plain ; and those arriving 
from the north had their first sight from hence of Hejra city : all 
perhaps alighted in this place, and there might one and another 
take up a stone (where he saw many had traced their legend 
before him), to beat out his own remembrance. — At this day, 
looking backward to el-Hejr, upon the green line of beautiful 
acacias grown to forest trees by the dry seyl-bed, the eyes seem 
to dwell still upon the antique trade settlement ! — In our 
returning, as I spoke of the Haj surra, Mohammed answered 
stoutly, " Though their askars be the better armed, the Beduw 
are of greater heart : " yet he allowed that the poor Beduins 
were not able to stand before soldiery in the plain field. As 
we approached the kella, his children ran from the booth, to 
meet their father ; and with Beduin affection he took his 
little son upon the saddle, to ride home with us. 

The gate Arabs had of late robbed more than a dozen young 
falcons from the eyries in Ethlib. I saw two or three at this 
time in every tent, tied by a foot to their perches, set up in 
the sand, and heard them all day querulously complaining. 
Their diet was small desert vermin, lizards, rats and insects, as 
their mewers might find ; or finding naught they maintain them 
with a little dough : in the nomad life they pluck for them 
those monstrous bluish blood-sucker ticks which cleave to the 



FALCONS. 



363 



breasts of their camels. Hawks (sokr) to take the hare are in 
estimation among the Beduins ; it is some pastime for an idle 
mau, with pith in him ; and a good falconer may almost daily 
mend the weak fare of his nomad household. The least is 
worth a real, they will hardly sell the best at the price of a 
thelul. All these were gentle hawks ; in the same mountain 
cliffs were buzzards, gledes, and other bastard kinds. The 
Arabs, as I have seen everywhere, have excellent heads to 
adventure themselves at a height : our barefoot climbers had 
hardily trodden some precipices, which I was giddy to look 
upon. But after my coming they borrowed a cord of me, 
the less to endanger themselves. Every one was very jealous 
of his own birds, gotten at the peril of his neck, and the 
jars of the poor souls for their hawks too often troubled the 




Cliffs of Ethlib. 



kella. One day at our coffee hearth Wady raised his voice, 
scolding with Doolan ; they shouted together for the head 
of an hare, which each affirmed to be his sokr's meat. The 
Arabs in their griefs, clamour like mad bodies, as if the per- 
suasion should be in their much and loud crying. An uproar 
of nomads within the guarded tower set our jealous Moorish 
world by the ears. Nejm reeled in his seat ; then he started 
upon his feet trembling ; and, casting to heaven his meagre 
hands, the chafed old man swore there should no more Aarab 
enter the kella. Wady cried fast, Doolan brayed with all 
his throat, to excuse themselves, and hideous was this strife ; 
until Hasan, with the brazen voice of a trumpet, bid them 
" Have done and peace ha ! if they were not all beside them- 
selves." The nomads now in disgrace gathered their ragged 
cloaks about them, and silently stepped down the broken 



364 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

stairway and out of doors, glad to be so come abroad without 
blood ; and not to re-enter till a day of reconciliation, which, 
with Haj Nejm, was not many hours distant. And Hasan, 
when he had put them forth and flung-to the iron door behind 
them, returned to coffee with the wonted ventriloqual laughter, 
and his great galliun, and " he-he-he ! wellah, Haj Nejm, mine 
uncle, now art not thou a little too hot-headed ? " And the 
other, " Should these bring their quarrels, Hasan, to our coffee- 
fire ? " Haj Nejm was full of this infirmity of sudden anger ; 
once upon a time in such a fit, he had pulled out his horse- 
pistols, and shot dead two W. Aly sheykhs, where they stood in 
this kella, because when he cried ho! they had dared put forth 
their hands to take a little corn out of the government sacks 
which stood in the court below. Hasan in that murderous 
extremity, to save the kella, had played with his knife under 
the ribs of another, and flung him dead forth and sparred the 
iron door. 




Cliffs of Ethlib. 



Another business of the idle gate Arabs was to go into the 
wilderness for " gunsalt." They gather tempered earth, when 
they have tried it by the tongue, under any shadowing rocks 
that since ages have been places of lying down at noon, of 
the Beduin flocks. This salt-mould they boil at home in 
their kettles, and let the lye of the second seething stand 
all night, having cast in it a few straws : — upon these yellow 
nitre crystals will be found clustered in the morning. With 
such (impure) nitre they mingle a proportion of sulphur, 
which is purchased in the haj market, or at Medina. Char- 
coal they prepare themselves of certain lighter woods, and 
kneading all together with water, they make a cake of gun- 
powder, and when dry, they cut it with the knife crosswise 
into gross grains ; such powder is foul and weak, and they load 
with heavy charges. The Arabs buy nothing when they can 
help themselves, and they are all in this sort gunpowder 
makers. 

I visited all the Hejr monuments anew, and saw nothing 
that was not well known to me ; but searching the clefts in 



SUPERSTITION OF POSSESSED TREES. 365 

Ethlib, I found other inscriptions : all are upon the side of 
the antique town ; there were none in the hinder part of the 
mountain : Doolan was my companion. We gathered, in the 
plain upon the potsherd sites, many small pieces of corroded 
copper money : he dug with his hands in a loamy heap, which 
perhaps remained of some fallen clay building, by the rock 
Marbut el-hosan, and showed me charcoal of the ancient fires, 
which, by the grain, seemed to be burnt palm wood. 

Returning one of those days I went to cut tent-pegs at the 
great solitary acacia tree which stands nigh the kella ; here the 
goats and sheep of the garrison lie down at noon after the 
watering. Clear gum-arabic drops are distilled upon the small 
boughs ; that which oozes from the old stock is pitchy black, 
bitter to the taste, and they say medicinal : with this are 
caulked the Arab coasting hoys which are built at Wejh. 
Hither I saw Doolan leading his flock, and waited to ask him for 
his bill, or else that he would cut down the sticks for me. He 
answered, " Wellah, son of mine uncle, ask me anything else, 
but in this were mischief for us both. No ! I pray thee, break 
not, Khalil, nor cut so much as a twig of all these branches, 
thou art not of this country, thou art not aware : look up ! seest 
thou the cotton shreds and the horns of goats which hang 
in these boughs, they are of the Beduw, but many fell in 
the late winds. And seest thou these nails ! certain of the 
Haj knock them into the stem whilst they pray ! " As I laid 
hand anew on a good bough and took my knife, Doolan em- 
braced me. " No ! Khalil, the man who cuts this tree, he said, 
must die." — " What is this folly ! are you afraid of trees ? " — "Ah 
me ! she is possessed by a jin ; be not so foolhardy. Wullah, I 
tell thee truth, a Beduwy broke but a bough and he died within 
a while and all his cattle perished. Khalil, the last evening 
a little girl of the booth that is newly pitched here, gathered 
some of these fallen sticks, for her mother's fire, and as they 
kindled, by-thy-life ! the child's arm stiffened : they carried her 
immediately into the kella, where Haj Nejm hanged some charms 
about her, and by the mercy of God the child recovered." 

Doolan was fallen out of favour in the kella, since those 
sheep and goats had been robbed out of his hand, and he 
imagined the world to be cruelly set against him. One day in 
this melancholy, as he lamented the many human wrongs not 
to be redressed, sitting with heavy sighs upon my threshold, 
I said to him, " Doolan, weep not, thou art an Antary ! " The 
destitute man, the despised Fehjy, hearing himself named in 
earnest son of Antara, could not contain his heroic heart ; 



366 ' TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

he would hide a great starting tear, which fell down upon 
his breast, and with a sobbing laughter he went out to weep. 
He would no more enter to drink the Moors' coffee, but 
at evening he solaced his proud grief in his own tent with 
many a mighty song to the groaning chord of the rabeyby : 
thus he put all care away and hunger, — and surely there survived 
in this poor Fehjy shepherd a magnanimous wild breath of the 
ancient Arabians. Doolan every day that he lived was an 
hungry man ; and it is hard to understand how nature may be 
sustained, in these famished human bodies. He would often 
show that he had nothing left to eat with the gesture of the 
nomads, in crackling the thumb-nail, from the backward, upon 
the upper front teeth ; they would signify with the herdman 
prophet, " He has given them cleanness of teeth." When he 
understood that to the soldiery of the Sultan were appointed 
daily rations, rice enough with flesh of boiled mutton, he thought 
them well living in the world ; and " Oh ! (he said) that a 
man might have here to eat every day and be filled, as those 
askars ! " The inhabitants of the border lands are wont to say 
of the hungered life of the nomads, " Their living is like dying," 
miihil el-mawt. 

An evening as the Arabs stood looking for the new moon, 
a little before the sunset, we heard a rushing sound in the 
heaven afar off. It was nejm a star-stone, (said the Arabs,) 
which had fallen they thought upon the mountains Eikb el- 
Hejr. They told me some have in their time fallen visibly 
in the country, and when they came to the place they 
found the rocks shattered, but not the ' star ' which they 
supposed to have beaten deep into the earth. The new moon 
was welcomed by the men with devout exclamations, and by 
these poor nomad women with carols in the first hours of the 
night. This is the planet of way for the wayfaring Semitic 
race. The moon is indeed a watch-light of the night in the 
nomad wilderness ; they are glad in her shining upon the great 
upland, they may sleep then in some assurance from their 
enemies. The hareem chanted their perpetual refrain of a 
single verse, and danced for an hour or two. Moses appointed 
his priests to ' blow up the horns in the new moons ' : — they are 
rams' horns, I have seen, which are sounded at these times, in 
the Jews' solemnities in Syria. 

All the locusts were not yet past ; once again they alighted 
here from the evening wind, on all green bushes and in 
the few palms of the kella. Haj Nejm ran up hooting on 
his terrace, and stretching his weak arms, armed with long 
palm branches, from the battlements to brush his date-trees, 



THE WELAD ALY PASSING BY. 367 

he cried frenetically, " Burn Ullah their fathers ! " and sent 
some of the gate Fehjies, who were partners with him in the 
fruit, to climb to the palm tops : this battle lasted till nightfall. 
In the oases, where they have fewer hands than can defend all 
their trees, the villagers suffer much damage. They lost this 
year a half of all their date fruits at Teyma. The immense 
plantations at Kheybar, were in the summer almost destroyed ; 
the villagers can but kindle fires of green sticks under most 
of the stems. 

On the morrow a number of Beduin horsemen rode to the 
door ; alighting they tethered their mares, and leaning up 
their lances to the walls, knocked loud upon the iron plate, 
which had been closed when they were seen approaching. 
These were sheykhs of W. Aly, who upon their mares pre- 
ceded the general rahla. The tribesmen came down from 
wandering (for fear of Ibn Eashid) upon the Harra with 
the Moahib ; and now two months before the time, for their 
better security, they would descend to Kheybar. Their riders 
had lately lost, to the Bishr ghrazzu, eighty dromedaries, well 
worth £1500 sterling, tamely surrendered, with their arms ; 
whereby the tribe was left almost bare of defence, and to-morrow 
they would call in at el- Ally, to buy or take upon credit what 
matchlocks and swords they might find in the town ; this noon 
they pitched in the midway about the wells of el-Hejr. Only 
a part were presently admitted. They had been but few years 
before dangerous gom ; and there was the blood betwixt them 
and Haj Nejm, of which the careful old host was ever in mind, 
who now stepped down in his best array and smiled with a grim 
kindness to meet them : the holster of two flint pistols, with 
which he had slain some of them, lay in a baldric upon his breast, 
and a flint blunderbuss was ready on his arm. Thus a man 
in trust or having anything to lose of his own, must con- 
verse with the men of rapine that are Beduins from home ; 
he must watch their sliding faith, lest they who are in seem- 
ing and pleasant words your friends, an occasion being given 
before you have eaten together, should suddenly rise upon 
you as enemies. They look themselves to be dealt with thus, 
and he is respectable in their opinion, in whom is this giving 
heed against their treachery. There is much in their eyes in 
the ceremonial of receiving honourably a man's guests, and 
though it be done in half-hypocrisy : Nejm rolled a pair of 
Turkey carpets after him, that seemed sumptuous possessions 
in the eternal squalor of the desert ; and these he spread for his 
guests upon the gallery. 



368 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

So Wady came up to them, and all the gate nomads, in their 
holiday best. One after another, Wady fell upon the necks of his 
sheykhly kindred, smacked a Judas kiss in a man's two cheeks 
and he folds down his comely black head like a bulrush on their 
rusty shoulders. The others stand manly to greet the W. Aly 
sheukh, who rise to them with a distant gravity ; — because of 
Kheybar, and for Ibn Kashid's sake, all is " not well " between 
these light and treacherous twin tribes. By this they are all 
solemnly seated again, and waiting to drink coffee. Hasan is our 
coffee master at the hearth ; he who in that sudden fray had killed 
one and swayed-to the iron door with his single main strength 
against many. Even now he was secretly armed; and showed 
me after their departure, with his inextinguishable gaggling 
laughter, both that blade and the pistol which he had ready in 
his wide slops, lest there should have fallen out among them 
any new desperate adventure. So must they that man the 
kellas, eat bread unquietly in the Ishmaelite country. Nejm 
had always a musing uneasy conscience of that blood hastily 
spilt : ed-dumm thekil, would he say, " The burden of blood is 
very sore:" and were any cruder counsel moved at our coffee 
fire, Nejm would give his voice against it, commending milder 
ways and saying " It is good to look with indulgence upon 
men's faults, so they be without malice." I have heard him 
murmur to himself that ' he was hospitable and had a 
white heart.' When he was before of the tower at Sawra, in 
their dira, he had fortified himself with a W. Aly marriage ; 
yet by her father's side, his wife was of the old kella keepers' 
daughters. She was of womanly worth, and hospitable, and 
only sometimes impatient of his close citizen discipline, which 
the absolute old Moor would lay upon a faithful jara in 
the desert. 

Motlog Allayda, the great sheykh, was a grey-headed man, 
and with homely gentle manners he seemed a fatherly person- 
age ; when about to depart, he came to seek me out in my 
chamber. Bred in a civil society, it is likely he would have been, 
for all the world, a perfectly good man ; but the necessitous 
livelihood of the wilderness must cast him into many per- 
plexities, out of which they will unwind themselves by any 
shift, which always they think better than fighting in the plain 
field ; and though some of their fox-like expedients be but base 
treachery. But there is no public dishonour in the desert ; all 
is reckoned human policy, that is done within the tribesmen's 
common interest, and contrary to the world, which is all with- 
out their tribe. Thus every Beduwy has two faces, this of 
gentle human kindness at home, the other of wild misanthropy 



THEIR THOUGHTS OF SETTLED COUNTRIES. 369 

and his teeth set against the world besides. All things are 
much as we esteem them ; they think themselves, comparing 
themselves among themselves, honest men enough, whom we 
take to be most dangerous wretches and arrant thieves. The 
double treacheries of this unwarlike tribe had fallen back, twice, 
upon their own pates in the last twelvemonths' time, which 
made their false hearts cold. 

The elders departed bye and bye to go to their menzil. The 
younger spirits lingered on, that for change of idleness would sit 
this day out in the kella, drowsing through the middle hours 
as though they were weary in the wilderness of their own minds : 
and hardly they roused themselves at the end of the day's 
quarters, when they found, by the shadow, it was time to 
say again the same formal prayers : then they rekindled 
their galliuns, and a blithe new knelling of the pestle and 
mortar relivened the company ; yawners shook off sloth and 
sat up to sip the cup again. Thus they stayed, as the 
Beduins only can, still fasting, and making patience with cheer- 
ful slothing, till the evening. Cock on the hoop, of this younger 
company, was Fahd the sheykh's son, a wooden-headed young 
man lately leader of that ghrazzu in which he rashly wounded 
the Bishr sheykh's son. Fahd sent for me to come to him. 
He sent again. " Up (said the fellow his messenger), the sheykh 
calls thee to show him thy pictures." I bade him come to me, 
if he would aught of me, in my chamber. He entered, with a 
haughty brow, which, seeing I despised, he fell to entreating me 
would I show him my pictures (now famous in the country). 
It was he who, hearing my nation named, would understand 
which was our market village ; now I said to him, " Young man, 
ours are a thousand villages, and many thousands ; " Nejm a- 
little before had boasted to them that the Nasrany never said a 
word but the truth, and therefore the stolid younker could not 
wholly disbelieve me. The old Moor went by upon the gallery, 
and hearing our discourse, " Neither is this (he said to them) 
anything incredible which Khalil tells ; in the Moors' country 
be also great towns, and plenty of good villages, that is a wide 
land full of a multitude of people, and not such as you Aarab 
inhabit. What nakedness is this here of the sun and waste 
earth, with hardly some village weakly inhabited ! — a land which 
only Beduw, and the afarit, may dwell in ; but we are men 
of the West : — is it not so, Hasan ? Ay ! we have seen the 
world." The sun setting, these coffee guests departed — observing 
the good manners of the desert — and went then to their worsted 
menzils to breakfast. 

d t. 24 



STRIFE IN THE KELLA. 371 

The old Moor Nejm had taken of late a greater aversion 
to the half Beduwy askar lad, his wife's brother ; and all 
dreading his quick sanguinary humour, we led a careful life 
in the kella. Nejm had bred him from a child to the garrison 
service. We have seen this stronghold once already taken by 
surprise, and occupied by the Beduw : with so few hands under 
him, he must jealously guard against all the besetting dangers 
of the desert. He looked with a fierce care, by day and night 
to keep the gate. The craven lad Mohammed, with a braving 
negligence, made too light of his " uncle's " jealous bidding ; 
and he, tyrannical and timorous, saw in this draw-latch his 
labour lost, and the kella committed to him by the Dowla, with 
his neck and livelihood in it, endangered ; and every day, he 
hated more the boy's spurious metal. One of these nights 
we were hardly gone from the coffee-hearth to rest, when 
our peace was troubled with a savage altercation. The young 
Mohammed had stolen forth, leaving the kella iron door ajar at 
that hour, to the Fehjies' tents, only to quarrel with Doolan ; 
and was scolding with the Fehjy women about some trifle of 
corn betwixt them* an imprudence likely to cost him all too 
dear — it might cost him his unprofitable life. For Haj Nejm, 
hearing this rumour, and a wrangling without, was risen, and 
as he knew certainly the brabbling voice he came forth in a 
frenzy upon the terrace, and as if his tower were now betrayed 
he yelled like a fiend to shut the door. The lad stole in again, 
and having softly laid up the spar, would then sneak up the 
stairs to his chamber ; but the old man, spreading his arms 
in the moonlight, sware by his religion, and by his Ghrarb, or 
West country, that the boy was a Yahudy (he could find no 
worse name for him). Haj Nejm sprang back to his quarters, and 
came again handling his glittering carbine. He yelled then, 
" Up, Hasan, I say, up ! " in a half suffocated and less than 
human voice : — Hasan he called to be witness at the Yahudy 's 
death ; or he intended perhaps that, raging thus, Hasan 
should play peace-maker and come between them, to hinder 
him. Nejm would make all hearts this once afraid of him, 
with the horror of manslaughter in the night : from the oppo- 
site part, the puling miserable lad appealed to him weeping, 
" uncle ! — it is thyself that hast brought me up." But 
the old man rejected him, crying terribly again, " I am none 
of thine uncles ; die ! Yahudy, die ! " and as ho levelled his 
gun at him, Mohammed ran by in the ghastly moonshine 
(the Arabs shoot not at flying), at the further side of the 
kella : so old Nejm, handling his shining blunderbuss, de- 
scended slipslop, with a stiff tread upon the stairs, from the 

24—2 



372 TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA. 

terrace-roof, and terribly he made after him. Haj Hasan had 
stepped upon his feet at this ado and looked from his cell- 
chamber ; now with the voice of a trumpet he outshouted 
them all. " Bess, enough, 'nuncle, and now ho ! what is this 
fare, wouldest thou shed blood so hastily ! and in with thee, 
Mohammed, thou foolish weled, to thy chamber ; what, boy- 
fool ! have not I an hundred times warned thee, as a father, 
and art thou always troubling the kella ? And thou Haj 
Nejm go sleep ;- I say there will be time to look at the 
lad's fault to-morrow. — Have done Mohammed ! do not answer 
thine uncle, but give the Lord thanks that thou seest the 
end of this night's work, and nothing worse is happened unto 
thee." By this the infirm old man's spirits were nigh spent ; 
all again was still in the kella, and they returned to their 
rests till the morrow's light, only the puling askar lad yet 
blubbered as he passed the sill of his " beyt," ' He would tell 
the Pasha, and he would tell Mohammed Aly, as ever the 
Haj should be come again : ' it was well that the testy old 
Moghreby did not overhear him. 

The sun risen I went to the hearth to make tea with 
much sugar ; in hope to call them friendly together : and 
the strife was laid till mid- day